'Luther' Creator Boards Patricia Highsmith's 'Ripley' TV Adaptation

Neil Cross - H 2016
Courtesy of Peta-Mazey

Luther creator Neil Cross has found his next project.

Cross has boarded the TV adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley book series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Cross will pen the script and executive produce.

The drama, which does not yet have a network, hails from Television 360, Endemol Shine Studios and publisher Diogenes. The three companies are teaming to bring the late author's five-book series to television.

Highsmith's (who wrote The Price of Salt, the book Carol is based on) Ripley was the focal point of five novels over four decades in the series known as the "Ripliad": The Talented Mr. Ripley (1955), Ripley Underground (1970), Ripley's Game (1974), The Boy Who Followed Ripley (1980) and Ripley Under Water (1991).

Guymon Casady and Ben Forkner will exec produce for Television 360. Philipp Keel will exec produce for Diogenes (Highsmith's Zurich-based publisher and agency). 

Casady and Forkner — longtime fans of the Ripley books — built a relationship with Keel that ultimately evolved into a partnership to develop the novels as a series, with 2015 marking the 60th anniversary of the internationally recognized character.

The trio's vision for the TV series is to expand on Rene Clement's 1960 feature Purple Noon and Anthony Minghella's Matt Damon starrer The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) — both of which were based on the first book in the series — and explore the depth, sophistication and complexity of the character of Tom Ripley. In total, five films have been made from the Ripley novels, with no actor playing the character more than once.

Cross, meanwhile, is still attached to Fox's Luther reboot.