“Well, whatever you do, however terrible, however hurtful, it all makes sense, doesn’t it, in your head. You never meet anybody that thinks they’re a bad person.” Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley is an anti-hero that has stood the test of time. Played by Matt Damon in the 1999 adaptation The Talented Mr Ripley, he is a charming, self-confident, suave and ruthless con man – unsurprisingly since the current occupant of the White House displays many of the same attributes but without the charm and good looks – Ripley still resonates just as chillingly today. Anthony Minghella’s film was a roaring success on release, grossing over $128 million worldwide and scoring five Academy Award nominations.
But did you know…
1) Director Anthony Minghella refused to make the film unless he had final say over who played Tom Ripley. After Leo DiCaprio reportedly turned down the offer, the script landed on Damon’s desk, who said he practically “begged for the job”. After seeing his performance in Good Will Hunting, Minghella was convinced Matt was the right person for the role. “Matt has a credibility, and warmth and generosity – such winning qualities – that make you want to go on that journey with him inch by inch.”
2) Both Matt Damon and Jude Law went through physical transformations for the film. Matt Damon lost 30 pounds to bring the slightly more awkward and lanky Ripley to life. “I have to run six miles a day, I can’t eat this food, I have to learn how to play the piano. That’s just kind of a checklist, a shopping list of what you have to do every day”, he said about the process of preparing for the role. Jude Law on the other hand had to put on more than just an American accent to fit the bill. He buffed up, as Americans “play much more physical sports at school”.