"It's better to be a fake somebody, than a real nobody."
Based on the 1955 novel by Patricia Highsmith and directed to perfection by the late Anthony Minghella, The Talented Mr. Ripley has stood the test of time, with the psychological thriller still considered to be one of the '90s best films and one of cinema's most stylish films, transporting audiences to the glamorous Italian Riviera in the 1950s. Well, it's la dolce vita until Tom Ripley comes along.
The expectations were high for Minghella heading to Ripley after his previous film, The English Patient, took home nine Oscars, including Best Director. And he knew this film would come down to finding the perfect actors to inhabit his take on the literary characters. Enter the stacked young ensemble cast, including Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, who tragically died in 2014 at the age of 46.
But finding five of the most talented actors of their generation was a happy accident for Minghella, who began casting Ripley before most of them became superstars.
"Who were the brightest and most interesting group of young actors I could find in the world…and tried to put them in the film," he explained of the arduous casting process. "And when I turned around a year later, they were all household names."
And his film, which would go on to make $130 million at the box office and earn five Oscar nominations, would help cement their status as some of Hollywood's top stars, especially Damon, who earned rave reviews for his unexpected turn as the murderous sociopath, and Law, with his charisma and swagger as Dickie Greenleaf serving as his breakthrough performance.
20 years later, we're looking back on the stylish, sensual and sensational film, revealing secrets you might not know about The Talented Mr. Ripley, including the surprising talents Damon and Law picked up while filming, who broke a rib on set and which A-lister turned down the titular role...