Ripley: Is Freddie Miles Non-Binary?

Netflix’s ‘Ripley’ brings Patricia Highsmith’s best-selling and critically acclaimed novel to life, with Andrew Scott donning the role of the talented Tom Ripley. He is tasked with changing Dickie Greenleaf’s mind and bringing him back home, but soon, he turns his focus toward different things that lead to terrible consequences. While some people take time to see through his facade, there are others for whom Ripley is a tad more transparent than he’d like to be. Freddie Miles is one of the people who see him for who he is and has to pay the price for it.

Freddie is an intriguing character in his own right and presents quite a contrast to Ripley’s character. With Eliot Sumner, who identifies as non-binary, playing the role, questions about Freddie’s gender and sexual identity may emerge in the minds of the audience.

Freddie Miles’ Gender Identity is Inconsequential to His Role

In ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley,’ Freddie Miles is described as an obnoxious man who revels in his wealth and to whom Ripley takes a dislike that turns out to be mutual. The Netflix adaptation tones down the character a bit, keeping him in line with the general tenor of the show, and Eliot Sumner plays the role with a quiet and steady hand that makes Freddie intimidating, not just to Ripley but also to the audience.

Image Credit: Philippe Antonello/Netflix

In the book, Freddie is a straight man, but with Eliot Sumner playing the role in the TV show, the audience would be tempted to connect the actor’s non-binaryness to the role. Speaking about their gender identity, Sumner (who doesn’t care what pronouns are used to describe them) revealed that they “don’t believe in any specifications” and believe that “no one should feel pressured to have any kind of label or tag on them,” wanting simply to be recognized for their work as an artist.

Apart from acting, Sumner is also known for their career in music. One of Sting and Trudie Styler’s four children, Sumner, wrote their first song at 13. Forming a band at 14, they got a record deal at 18 and started making music under the name of Coco, and later turned to Eliot Sumner as the name on their new albums. They also worked as a DJ under the name Vaal. They started their acting career in films like ‘Stardust,’ and more recently appeared in ‘No Time to Die.’

Just as their gender is irrelevant to Sumner’s art and identity, it also feels inconsequential to Freddie Miles’s story in ‘Ripley.’ He is identified as a man, and the pronouns “he/him” are used for him, but that in no way affects the arc his character takes. The same goes for his sexuality, as the show just reveals that Freddie had been with a man but makes no mention of whether or not he is interested in women. In the same vein, many things about Freddie remain in the dark and out of Ripley and the audience’s reach. This lack of attention to details surrounding Freddie makes him an enigma to Ripley, who is immediately cautious of Freddie, who reciprocates the feeling.

Read More: Why is Ripley in Black and White?