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About the Story
"The Talented Mr. Ripley" is director Minghella's first motion picture since Miramax Films' highly acclaimed "The English Patient" which won the Academy Award™ as Best Picture and for which Minghella won the Oscar® as Best Director. Rejoining Minghella from "The English Patient" are Walter Murch A.C.E., film editor; John Seale A.C.S, A.S.C., director of photography; Ann Roth, costume designer; and composer Gabriel Yared, all of whom earned Academy Awards™ for their work on that film. Also on the production team from "The English Patient" is costume designer Gary Jones. Collaborating with Minghella for the first time is production designer Roy Walker, who earned an Oscar® as art director on "Barry Lyndon," and Set Decorator Bruno Cesari, Academy Award™ winner for "The Last Emperor."

Anthony Minghella says that after reading Patricia Highsmith's book, the first in her series of "Ripley" novels, he found himself personally connected to the material. The story of a young man who feels like a complete outsider and longs to exchange his identity for someone else's excited Minghella's imagination. He believed there was potential in it for a wonderful film.

"The idea of somebody wanting to change his identity for someone else's – it's the novel's core notion," he says. "Wanting to give yourself up to become someone else stems from some inner discontent, some self-dissatisfaction, even self-loathing. It's basic to human nature.

"Most of us, I think, are disappointed with ourselves at some point, feel inferior in some way, at the edge of things and wish we were someone else. It's something we can all empathize with, and it's what really fascinated me with the story. Certainly as an immigrant son who didn't feel I entirely belonged to the culture I was living in growing up in England, I often wanted to exchange myself for someone else."

"The Talented Mr. Ripley" first takes Tom Ripley to Italy as an emissary for the rich playboy's father. Then, as the killings occur and Ripley's lies and crimes mount, the story follows him as he darts all across the country trying to stay one step ahead of the police – and anyone else who might expose him.

For all its suspense, however, "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is no ordinary thriller.

"The landscape is an important part of the story," says producer William Horberg. "The canvas in the film is the Italy of the late 1950s – its music, the high style of the Via Veneto in Rome, the clothes, the cars, the motor scooters, the atmosphere of rich Americans abroad, even the great movies of the period by Fellini, Antonioni and Visconti," he explains.

According to producer Tom Sternberg, "‘The Talented Mr. Ripley' is a romantic movie, not a film noir, shot in romantic colors. And the Italian location is part of its romantic style."

The film was shot all across the country in nine different locations, stretching from Venice, Tuscany and Rome, to Naples and the islands of Ischia and Procida in the Gulf of Naples, and Palermo in Sicily to the south. Filming also took place on location in New York City.

The imaginative use of music – classical and jazz – are also key to revealing character, background and the period in "The Talented Mr. Ripley."

"The film is full of music and the idea of improvisation is crucial," Horberg says. "Ripley's real talent is to improvise his way through life, on his own mysterious search for love and identity."

The astonishing attention Minghella has lavished on period details also embellishes the film's romantic palette, adding another layer to the story, illuminating the drama, bringing it brilliantly to life.

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