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Television

The Hot Priest has a new job

Andrew Scott and Sian Clifford of “Fleabag” at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards.
Andrew Scott and Sian Clifford of “Fleabag” at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards.
(Kyle Grillot / AFP/Getty Images)

“Fleabag” fans longing to see more of the Hot Priest, your prayers have been answered: Andrew Scott will play the title role in “Ripley,” an ongoing drama series from Showtime, the network announced Wednesday.

Fresh off “Fleabag’s” unexpected sweep at the Emmys, Scott has signed on to play the murderous grifter Tom Ripley in the series, based on Patricia Highsmith’s acclaimed suspense novels.

From a must-have pantsuit to a very Hot Priest, “Fleabag” defined a year in which Emmy voters responded to TV’s social-media water-cooler more than ever.

Oscar-winning filmmaker Steve Zaillian will write and direct the entire eight-episode first season of “Ripley.”

“We are so thrilled to have the supremely talented filmmaker, Steve Zaillian, adapt the singular saga of Tom Ripley from Patricia Highsmith’s novels as an ongoing series for Showtime,” said Showtime President Gary Levine in a press statement. “With Andrew Scott, whose charisma knows no bounds, inhabiting the iconic lead role, we feel confident that this will be a special one.”

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The series will follow Tom Ripley, a small-time New York con man who in the early 1960s is hired by a wealthy businessman to travel to Italy to track down his wayward son, but winds up pursuing “a complex life of deceit, fraud and murder.”

The role seems unlikely to build on Scott’s romantic appeal. The Priest was hot; Tom Ripley, as viewers of the 1999 Anthony Minghella film “The Talented Mr. Ripley” may recall is, well, not.

But Scott has memorably played psychopaths: Before making viewers swoon in “Fleabag,” he starred as the villainous Moriarty in the PBS favorite “Sherlock.”

Zaillian is one of the industry’s most distinguished screenwriters. He won an Oscar for “Schindler’s List,” received nominations for “Moneyball” and “Gangs of New York,” and wrote the script for Martin Scorsese’s anticipated new film “The Irishman.” His television work includes the Emmy-nominated HBO limited series, “The Night Of.”

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While Scott was, somehow, passed over for an Emmy nomination for “Fleabag,” on Sunday night creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge credited the actor with turning Season 2 into such a phenomenon: “Andrew Scott ... came into our ‘Fleabag’ world like a whirlwind and gave a performance of such depth and complexity that just elevated the whole thing.”

Highsmith’s work has been adapted by Hollywood many times over the decades, including Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” and Todd Haynes’ “Carol.”


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