A particularly astute assessment of Matt's performance in Ripley, as appeared in an article about Oscar Hopefuls in the Daily Variety on 1/4/2000:
He plays Tom Ripley, a young man with a distorted self-image and an unusual gift for insinuating himself into other people’s lives. Ripley so idolizes carefree playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), he eventually takes over Dickie’s life - with disastrous results.
Academy Award winning-director Anthony Minghella (the 1996 "The English Patient") helms "Ripley," which he also adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s suspense novel.
"One of the extraordinary things about what Matt’s done is the series of transformations he made," Minghella says. "They’re not pyrotechnic or splashy; they’re very subtle transitions. He was very careful not to go for a cartoon impersonation, but to find what was essential about the characters Ripley played.
"Certain things are emphasized in the transition," he says, "and the thing most emphasized to me is what’s familiar about Ripley, as opposed to what’s strange about him; what’s human rather than what’s monstrous.
"I think the combination of Matt’s own natural empathy as an actor and my sense of trying to talk about what was recognizable in Ripley’s aspirations have made a certain change in the way he travels through the film. He’s much more burdened by the consequences of what he does than perhaps is evident in the novel."
In 1998, Damon won a Golden Globe and Academy Award for the script of "Good Will Hunting," which he co-wrote with longtime friend Ben Affleck. Damon also earned Globe and Oscar noms for actor for his work in the title role.
- Terri Roberts
It is the hallmark of director Minghella's films that
walk out of the theater divided in their opinions. That
the case with "The English Patient" (remember Elaine of "Seinfeld"? And
now, with "Ripley", you have people who
relish the film on one hand, and then there are people who
couldn't stand it.
This movie is like one of those either-you-see-it-or-you-don't pictures: it is a kaleidoscope of imageries, complex meanings, and musical arguments; it is a treatise of the darkness of the human condition and the human heart. It is an art-house movie that has been boldly introduced into the mass market through the clever use of likable actors, breathtaking cinematography, and excellent technicalities all around. If you prefer a story straightly told, with no loose ends untied, then this movie is not for you. But if you keep your mind open, if you are willing to allow the movie to unfold before you, and then let it simmer in your head for days after, you may find yourself mulling over the nuances of the film more and more after your first viewing, as the meanings of one thing after another start to dawn on you.
On the acting: If you have seen Damon in his previous films and especially if you have caught him in his TV appearances, you will appreciate just how fine a performance he has put in here. Sure, Jude Law got the glamorous role - and hence a lot of the adulations - but Damon's portrait of Ripley, as perceived by Minghella, is nothing short of brilliant. My take is that he took on this role - even after "Good Will Hunting" had made him a star - to shed his "heartthrob" image, and to show the world that he is a serious actor. Damon may have lost a few former fans with this film, but I will bet that he has gained a few others, and a whole lot of respect from other quarters.
The soundtrack is superior as well. I recommend it highly.
Lyrics of the song "Tu vuo' fá ll'americano" featureed in the movie can be found here. There's also a rough translation. Also, lyrics of My Funny Valentine.
For all the exciting items that transpired with the opening of Ripley, click here.
12/10/99 Well, the opening day is Christmas, and the buzz is going full-till. I will be keeping track of the reviews and the interviews that will be hitting us very soon.
From vca2lawNOvcSPAM@erols.com.invalid Fri Jan 21 07:20:48 PST 2000 Article: 194740 of rec.arts.movies.current-films Subject: Re: THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY Newsgroups: rec.arts.movies.current-filmsYes, I say excellent movie! Beautifully set and shot, great performances (except Gwyneth, not much to work with) and a strange but palpable suspense. It's not the kind of suspense where you wonder who will get it, or what will happen, but more about what lengths and depths Damon's character will go to to preserve his lies. The film also is a lot more linear and accessible than Minghella's other highly acclaimed effort, The English Patient. I was really intrigued by the way the movie made Damon's character into a protagonist, albeit an amoral one. I was really routing (sic) for him at times. But the movie also does a great job of building a sense of frustration, rather than tension, in the suspensful theme. Everytime Damon digs himself one foot deeper, I couldn't help thinking what he could have done to avoid or mitigate the situation.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Being John Malkovich got to the question first--well, not first, of course, but first as far as the late-1999 movie season was concerned. The question: What would it be like to be someone else--and how do you get there? Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley was, and is, one of the most trenchant works to address this question, and director-screenwriter Anthony Minghella's film of that book is a strangely wondrous achievement. Far superior to Minghella's last, much-touted effort, The English Patient, Ripley doesn't flinch for a minute at the unsavory implications of the aforementioned question, and that makes this movie about discomfiting a "prestige film" as one could imagine.
Minghella's loose but emotionally focused reimagining of the plot--in which a desultory young Tom Ripley is recruited from a dead-end life in 1950s New York and dispatched to a glamour-drenched Italy to fetch back a fallen son, whom Ripley decides he'd rather replace than return--successfully hits a lot of risky notes, including the homoerotic attraction Ripley feels for his eventual prey, the beautiful but shallow Dickie Greenleaf. But the real beauty of Minghella's treatment of this ultimately horrifying story is the way he allows his actors to run away with it. Matt Damon's Ripley is a revelation, and not just as far as Damon's talent is concerned--there's never been a movie character quite like this before. Ripley has been adapted previously, by Rene Clement with 1960's Purple Noon, starring Alain Delon. But with Delon being Delon, audiences knew he was the Devil the second he stepped into the frame. Damon does something completely different, and terrifying: He delineates the path from wannabe to sociopath as he assumes the identity of Greenleaf. Jude Law gorgeously incarnates Greenleaf as a strange hybrid of beauty and insipidness. Gwyneth Paltrow demonstrates not merely her talent but also her modesty in the mostly unshowy role of Marge, Greenleaf's girlfriend. Philip Seymour Hoffman stuns once again, nailing a certain species of American vagabond, the comfortable heir of Ivy League privilege. These phenomenal talents enact a scenario that, in its own quiet way, is as wrenching as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho--more wrenching, in a way, because Ripley's class and status envy is a lot easier to empathize with than Norman Bate's mother love. "Madame Bovary, c'est moi," Flaubert once said of his spectacularly shallow creation. Minghella's--and Damon's--triumph here is in making Ripleys of us all.
Matt Damon is absolutely mesmerizing in this film; despite the fact that he's often sharing the screen with tantalizing eye-candy like pristine Italian seascapes, Gwyneth's beautiful clothes and Jude's naked butt, I could barely take my eyes off him. With this role, he's created a character who's impossible to forget: a killer who is desperate but not cold-blooded, a bitter, twisted outsider whose yearning for love and the good life we nevertheless completely understand. Can you say Oscar nomination?
5. Matt Damon in ''The Talented Mr. Ripley.'' ''Ripley'' is a movie bursting with great performances -- Jude Law's seductively arrogant golden boy, Philip Seymour Hoffman's pompously puffy preppy, even a tiny, luminous turn as a runaway heiress by Cate Blanchett (looking more than ever like she's got the stuff that greats are made of). But Damon tops them all as the reticent, charmingly nervous big dreamer with a heart of darkness. Gone is the swagger of ''Good Will Hunting'' and the healthy gleam of ''Saving Private Ryan''; in ''Ripley,'' Damon tiptoes softly into areas that most other actors would crush underfoot, and does his best work ever.
From the NY Post:
1/22/99 Delia in Italy very kindly sent me a note to share an article in an Italian magazine:
Basically Matt says he is very happy about his growing success,even though he is not used to it yet.A success become huge after the Oscar,he recognizes his life's changed since then,but despite of some colleagues he doesn't complain about the otehr side of success.
He also talks about Ben and how important their friendship is.
The interviewer asks if after shooting"Rounders" he has been seduced by
gambling,Matt says"Gambling has never attracted me,nevertheless in our
bussiness imany people like it;anyway if i had ever wanted to try
it,shooting this movie would have changed my mind".Ed(Norton) and I
all New York greasy spoons to better understand this environment,and it
shocking to see how people ruin themselves by gambling.........
There is also a question about Wynona:"do you want a family with Wynona?";here's his answer:"She is a delicious girl,and as everybody knows we oftef go out together;but sorry this is something that belongs to my private life......." Pfffff he never goes too far!!.
I am also sending some pics that were on this magazine.
If you are interested in seeing these photos, email me and I will forward the mail - I don't know if the pictures will come out that way, however.
1/20/99: MrShowBiz lists The Talented Mr. Ripley among "ten films to look forward to other than The Phantom Menance. Here's what's said about our Matt's film:
1/20/99: Felicity found an article with Gwyneth Paltrow in an edition of 'W' magazine Here's what she wrote:
Basically it starts with Gwyneth meeting Anthony Minghella on the awards circuit a year or so back, and they began talking.
Minghella's ten-year-old son Max decided he liked Gwyneth, so he started sending letters to her, and she replied to them. Max started calling Gwyneth his girlfriend. Soon Gwyneth became friends with the Minghella family, and he thought of her for the role of Marge in Ripley.
Minghella called her up to ask her opinion of Matt, and how she thought he would go as Tom Ripley. Gwyneth says she didn't really know who Matt was before she signed to the role, but she saw an advance screening of GWH and thought he was right for the part. Gwyneth's response to Matt being in the film was 'great'.
It also says that Minghella also saw a pre-release screening of GWH. This ties in with the 'Details' article where it says that Minghella's son saw Matt after one of his movies had come out (which would be 'The Rainmaker'). Minghella then became interested, and asked to see Matt in GWH before it was released.
The rest, of course, is history....
Old news: Cate Blanchett's role in Ripley is Meredith Logue, an old friend of Matt's character. In the original novel, this character appears only briefly at the beginning of the story. Cate is expected to receive an Oscar nomination for her performance in the film Elizabeth.
New news: Gwyneth Paltrow is apparently a sure bet for this year's Oscar nomination for Best Actress, on the strength of the soon-to-be-released Shakespeare in Love. This can only add to the glitter of the cast of "Ripley".
Anyway here is the news i can give you about this movie,and also some pics.I also noticed Matt has slimmed too much,maybe it was something requested by Minghella.During the breaks while shooting "The Talented Mr. Ripley"here in Italy,Matt only ate carrots!!. Anyway he had a great time here,he must have smiled a lot!!.He spent last August in Rome,where he started shooting Minghella's new movie,together with Gwyneth Paltrow,Jude Law and Cate Blanchett,plus a few Italian actors.Matt plays a bizzare bloke,arrived in Italy to bring back to his family his rich friend(Jude Law);but Tom Ripley falls in love with Italy himself; what's more he kills his friend and replaces him.Gwyneth Paltrow is Jude's girlie,whereas Cate Blanchett(whose character is Meredith) is the first person he comes across on his arrival in Italy(i saw these scenes,since they were shot in my city' s harbour).In Rome Matt was joined by Wynona.In September after Venice he went to Naples,i know they shot in San Carlo's theatre(one of the biggest theatre in Italy),but as they had problems about shooting in Naples harbour they just came to my city.The first day they shot in a church"la Martorana",then the following two days in our harbour and then in a palace.
I have alot of pics about Matt's days in palermo,since i was kind of always "after"him.He was extremely kind,and fascinating. By the way,Gwyneth had her birthday's party in Ischia where they went after palermo.the final scenes were shot in Venice.After shooting the final scenes,they spent some time in Italy the same.Gwyneth was in Milan(this time with Ben),whereas Matt was in Rome,exactly in Rome stadium to see the match Rome vs Juve.
Click here for a photo of Matt and Mom
at the Venice Film Festival in October.
Note: Download will take time.
Click here for some photos from Ripley. Note: Download will take time.
Okay. I don't know how Matt Damon handles it. I feel like I am in a whirlwind just following the happenings about his films. Even as Rounders is about to be released, news are beginning to come in about The Talented Mr. Ripley(TTMR), currently filming in Italy.
"Ripley" is a very exciting film. It has an unusal story, and Matt will be in just about every frame, playing a complex, intriguing character. The supporting cast is stellar as well.
So, I started a page just to keep track of the happenings surrounding the film. The buzz on it is bound to be something fierce. Just wait and see.
If you hear of any news about TTMR, drop me a line at email@example.com and I will see if I can add it to the collection.
11/29/98 Ripley news:
What a cast.
Article only talks about how she loves Italy, says it's a great film and that she's really enjoying the work, but the hours are really long. She starts at 6.30am, only breaks for lunch and finishes up at 7.00pm.
There was a story in aint-it-cool-news re the Ripley script.
some reason it was only there for a couple of hours before it was
(revealed too much or whatever). Anyway, the guy 'Tom Joad' read about
scripts, and gave his views on Ripley.
Basically (the ephemeral article) says it is very good, that Ripley is one of the most complex characters ever put on paper, and that you 'go thru so many layers of what and who he is, in the end it hits you that you'll never really know. "Hats off to Minghella, he did a masterful job of putting the novel into screenplay format while somehow never losing too much of what made the novel, and its sequels."
Joad said he read an early script in August 95 and put off reading another because the first made him feel 'seriously uneasy.' He says version has the homo-erotic stuff seriously toned down, and that it's much easier to read as a result (this version was Sept 28 98 - apparently the final one.
Quoting (from the article): "I at first thought this to be an odd-choice for Damon, he is basically playing a homosexual killer. But in the same he totally destroys the notion that he's just another pretty boy if he pulls it off. This is some serious bad-boy psycho behaviour here."
"Ripley has this talent to near perfectly mimic anyone in everyway possible. From face, to voice, to handwriting, to appearance. And without his glasses on there is this uncanny resemblance between Ripley and Dickie. This is slowly told as Ripley basically makes every effort to be just like his friend. He overlaps their faces in windows [can't wait for that], wears his clothes, tries to seduce his girl, seduce him, and eventually as the your in and out Dickie (?) realises, become him. To give away anymore of this script would be a crime. You can guess what happens but the thing I liked most was I was never sure of what was coming next.
A first look on how Matt looks in Ripley: The 8/31 People issue
(with Princess Di on cover) has a photo of Matt and Gwyneth Paltrow
from the film. This photo is now viewable on
Tristen's site - look for the
"What's Matt doing Right Now" box.
See how much trimmer Matt will look in the film. And serious. This is going to be a very different Matt. I love it! Can't hardly wait.
Those who are in Australia are even luckier: The New Weekly magazine there apparently has been featuring half a dozen of photos from the film for the past two weeks.
This film is getting amazing attention.
Readers' emails are welcome. Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.