Steven Zaillian wanted Dakota Fanning for ‘Ripley’ after loving her in this role
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Steven Zaillian wanted Dakota Fanning for 'Ripley' after loving her in this role

Dakota Fanning, one of the stars of Netflix’s Ripley, has revealed that one of her smaller recent performances might have secured her the role of Marge Sherwood.

Notably, the new series is based on Patricia Highsmith’s celebrated 1955 thrillerThe Talented Mr. Ripley. Famously, the work was adapted into an Oscar-nominated feature-length in 1999, directed by Anthony Minghella and starring Matt Damon as Tom Ripley, Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf and Gwyneth Paltrow as Sherwood. 

The Netflix series stars Andrew Scott as Ripley and Johnny Flynn as Greenleaf, with Fanning rounding out the main cast. It was created, written and helmed by Steven Zaillian, the Oscar-winning mind behind the scripts for Schindler’s List, Gangs of New York, Moneyball and The Irishman. It is due to arrive on the streamer on April 4th. 

In a new interview with British Vogue, Fanning reflected on the show before it airs. She disclosed that her role as Manson Family member Squeaky Fromme in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 outing Once Upon a Time in Hollywood might have been what led Zaillian to her when casting Ripley

When it was put to her that Zaillian wanted her because he loved her efforts in Tarantino’s flick, Fanning replied: “That’s what I heard. He saw that and then wanted to chat with me about this. I was obviously familiar with this story and the character of Marge, and so I read the scripts and they were truly some of the best scripts I’ve ever read. Steve is so brilliant, and his vision for the show… I didn’t really even think about it. I just said, “Yes, I’ll do whatever he wants.” It was a dream to be a part of.”

Fanning proceeded to praise Zaillian’s writing as so incredibly nuanced but simple on the script for Ripley, leaving a lot of space for the actors to flourish, especially those who are not playing the central character of Tom Ripley. She also described it as “a real character study at its core”.

As it is such an iconic title, the series will always be compared to the 1999 movie, but Fanning maintained they are entirely different. She said: “I’m a massive fan of that film and watching the series, it felt completely different. Ripley is based on the novel very faithfully. I revisit the film because I love it, but I didn’t find it helpful in terms of playing Marge or stepping into this world because the vibe of this is entirely separate. It’s in black and white so, right off the bat, that changes things.”