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Is Johnny Flynn’s Dickie Greenleaf Based on a Real Person in Netflix’s Ripley?

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Steve Zaillian, who won an Oscar for “The Irishman” and “The Night Of,” wrote, directed, and executive produced “Ripley.” It takes place in Italy in the 1960s and is full of tension. Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers, Fleabag) plays the shady main character Tom Ripley in the eight-episode limited series. Scott’s Tom Ripley is a thief making ends meet in New York in the early 1960s. His boss, a rich businessman, hires him to go to Italy and try to persuade the boss’s aimless son, Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn), to come back home. When Tom takes the job, it’s the start of a complicated life full of lies, fraud, and murder. Dickie Greenleaf is a central figure in the story, and the way he is portrayed makes you wonder where he came from and what inspired him.

Is Dickie Greenleaf Based on a Real Person in Netflix’s Ripley?

No, Dickie Greenleaf is not based on a real person in Netflix’s Ripley.  Author Patricia Highsmith made up the character of Mr. Ripley in her book “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”  Even though Dickie is a character from a story, there may be interesting links between his personality and things that happened to the author in real life.

Johnny Flynn plays Dickie Greenleaf in the series. He is a key character in the story and both a target and a cause of the main character, Tom Ripley, turning to crime. It is important to remember, though, that Dickie and all the other characters in “Ripley” are completely made up. Dickie is a character that Patricia Highsmith made up and only lives in her imagination. She was created to play certain roles in the story.

The author of the Ripley story, Highsmith, said that books like “The Ambassadors” by Henry James and “If I Were You” by Julien Green influenced her work. Without a question, these classics helped make her work more psychologically and thematically complex. Highsmith’s careful attention to detail and deep understanding of human nature give the characters a sense of realism, even though the characters themselves are made up.

Even though Dickie Greenleaf is made up, it is possible that Highsmith used parts of her own life and experiences to give her characters depth and complexity. Some people think that Highsmith got ideas for the complicated relationship between Tom and Dickie from her claimed affair with Kathryn Hamill Cohen, a married woman.

Highsmith’s own trips to Italy, including stops in Rome, Capri, Palermo, and Positano, probably gave her a lot of ideas for how to describe Italy in the Ripley series. The character of Dickie Greenleaf is made up, but some of his traits or events may come from Highsmith’s own life and observations.

Highsmith’s honest exploration of darker themes like forbidden love, homosexuality, and the allure of crime makes it seem like she has a very personal link to the reasons and actions of her characters. The author’s own thoughts on strong feelings and the appeal of violence show how dream and reality interact in a complicated way in her stories.

Dickie Greenleaf is a figure in Highsmith’s stories, but his fate and personality may be based on her deepest hopes and dreams. It’s scary that the character’s sudden death at the hands of Tom Ripley and Ripley’s subsequent assumption of his identity show how deeply the author delves into the darkest parts of human nature.

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