Showtime Nears Deal for Steve Zaillian Series Based on Patricia Highsmith Novels

Showtime appears to be set to bring Tom Ripley, the serial killer antihero of Patricia Highsmith’s novels, to the small screen.

Sources say the cabler is in final negotiations for a straight-to-series order from Steve Zaillian, who will return to writing and directing TV for the first time since creating HBO’s award-winning mini-series “The Night Of.” Zaillian is reportedly in position to write and direct the majority of the first season.

The prospective series will center on the eventual serial killer Ripley, and will likely draw from five of Highsmith’s crime novels: “The Talented Mrs. Ripley,” “Ripley’s Game,” “Ripley Under Ground,” “The Boy Who Followed Ripley,” and “Ripley Underwater.”

Highsmith’s series of Ripley novels have been adapted for the big screen several times, but never for U.S. television. The character was most famously played by Matt Damon in the 1999 psychological thriller “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” which was nominated for five Academy Awards, and then again in 2002 by John Malkovich in “Ripley’s Game.”

Her first novel, “Strangers on a Train,” published in 1950, was adapted by Alfred Hitchcock into the Warner Bros. classic movie only a year later.

Zaillian will serve as an executive producer on the series, alongside Sharon Levy, Garrett Basch, Philipp Keel, Ben Forkner, and Entertainment 360’s Guymon Casady. Levy will oversee the show which Endemol Shine North America will produce.

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