Though Dickie is not the main character, Jude Law won many awards for his portrayal as the eccentric millionaire, such as the 2000 BAFTA Award for 'Best Actor in a Supporting Role'. Law was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well. Law portrayed his character as a man who is self-confident and well composed, but also craves the attention of others. He also captured Dickie's erratic personality, as he goes from being infatuated with Tom to ignoring him completely.
Anthony Minghella cast Law in the role after seeing his performance in Gattaca (1997) and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), where he was impressed by his sophistication. Minghella praised Law as "magnetic and unbearably handsome and perfect for the role." Jude Law was thrilled to take the role, as he was intrigued by Dickie's style, class and the complexity of the character.
Matt Damon plays the lead role and protagonist, Tom Ripley. Critics herald this as Damon's signature performance, one which exemplifies his ability to portray such a complicated and conflicted character. Tom Ripley is an elusive character, who openly admits that his three skills are forging signatures, telling lies and impersonating people. His forgery and impersonation skills then take a dark turn when he murders Dickie and pretends to be him, assuming his life of luxury and privilege.
Damon aimed to portray Ripley's inner turmoil and prompt the viewer to feel a sense of empathy for him, despite the atrocious things he has done. With his likable and charming demeanor the viewer is easily taken in by his Ripley, only to feel all the more unsettled by his violent tendencies. He also made sure to subtly portray his character's transformation from Tom to Dickie by mirroring his mannerisms, losing his slouch and trading his nervous features for a composed and confident facade. Damon also masterfully portrays Tom's growing infatuation with Dickie.
The Telegraph praised Damon's performance, stating, "Much sadder than the Tom of the books, he knows himself too well to expect contentment, and keeps stumbling into fateful booby–traps of his own devising."
At the time the film was being cast, Gwyneth Paltrow was a well-liked and respected Hollywood celebrity. She perfectly plays the role of Marge Sherwood, girlfriend of the high-flying Dickie Greenleaf. Her graceful beauty and impressive performances in films such as Emma (1996) and Great Expectations (1998) prompted Minghella to cast her as the kind-hearted, sensitive character of Marge.
Paltrow portrayed her character as both naive and insightful. Though Marge is aware of Dickie's womanizing, she acts oblivious as she fears confrontation. She also turns a blind eye to many of his negative characteristics, such as his tendency to shun and exclude others. While Marge may appear to have a perfect life as she is wealthy, young and dating an attractive man, we also get a sense of her inner turmoil.
Cate Blanchett was nominated for a BAFTA for her role as the impressionable and good natured textile heiress, Meredith Logue. A formidable acting talent from Australia, Blanchett had previously garnered praise for her performances onstage in Australia and in films like Oscar and Lucinda and Elizabeth in which she portrayed the powerful Elizabeth I to much acclaim. Blanchett signed on for her part in Ripley before shooting had finished on Elizabeth.
Ripley would not be Blanchett's only role in a Patricia Highsmith adaptation, later receiving great acclaim for her performance as the titular character in the 2015 Todd Haynes film Carol. Significantly enough, however, the character of Meredith Logue was an addition made by Anthony Minghella, and does not exist in the original Ripley novel.
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman garnered praise throughout his career for roles onstage and in films like Boogie Nights and The Big Lebowski. A well respected character actor, Hoffman cut his teeth on the stage, working at theaters like the LAByrinth and the Public in New York.
The role of cutting braggart Freddie Miles was a perfect role for Hoffman to show his chameleonic acting chops, and his expertise at playing endearingly unselfconscious creeps. In an article about Hoffman's most memorable roles published after his untimely death, The Telegraph wrote of his performance in Ripley, "Hoffman made him [Freddie] a grotesquely detailed figure. From the moment he meets Tom Ripley, Freddie finds ways to make him squirm, probing this arriviste’s weak spots with the cruelty of a born snob."
A successful character actor, James Rebhorn portrays the straightforward and formal Herbert Greenleaf. With a slight old-fashioned dialect reminiscent of classic noir, Rebhorn depicts Greenleaf as a man who is good at business and knows how to get what he wants. Rebhorn's performance epitomizes the notion of the protective and competent patriarch, sometimes to an almost cartoonish extent.
Before appearing in Ripley, Rebhorn had appeared in such films as Silkwood, My Cousin Vinny, and Basic Instinct.
As Peter, Jack Davenport embodies a grounded-ness and charm, and as we see Peter and Tom become companionable, one hopes that Peter will be able to redeem and change Tom for the better. Davenport's Peter is a loyal and supportive friend to Marge, and his admiration for Tom is genuine and sweet.
Davenport had not intended to become an actor, but in a gap year after university, a director was so impressed by his work at a summer theater that he hired him, and thus Davenport began a career. His role in Talented Mr. Ripley was one of his earliest roles.
An Italian film actor and director, who has appeared in films in both English and Italian.
Philip Baker Hall
An American character actor who has appeared in dozens of films, plays and television shows.
An American actress perhaps best known for her work onstage and on television.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Film) Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for The Talented Mr. Ripley (Film) is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Film) essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Talented Mr. Ripley by director Anthony Minghella.