On The Set Of Jack Ryan, Witnessing Tom Clancy's Greatest Hero Return
He’s worked to stop a rogue submarine from reigniting war between the United States and Russia, protected his loved ones from a renegade IRA faction, gotten pulled into the secret war between the CIA and the Colombian drug cartels, and successfully stopped a group of terrorists with a nuclear weapon, but it’s been a while since we’ve last seen Jack Ryan back up on the big screen.
The character, who first appeared in Tom Clancy’s novel The Hunt For Red October back in 1984, has now been away from the movies for more than a decade, but not for a lack of trying. Talk of a Jack Ryan reboot began all the way back in 2006 and many updates followed in the years since as the project fought its way through development and actually get made. And last year came the big breakthroughs. With Chris Pine set to reprise the iconic role made famous by the likes of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, the movie found Kenneth Branagh to both direct and star as the villain, Kevin Costner to play the super spy’s mentor, and Kiera Knightley to play the female lead. Cameras finally began to roll late last year in preparation for a Christmas 2013 release date, and I was fortunate to be on the set to witness it, flying out to London, England with a small group of other film journalists to both talk with the stars and watch them make Jack Ryan.
‘This script arrived and was unputdownable," Branagh said, sitting with us briefly between set-ups and explaining what drew him to the project. "I knew the previous movies and I read some of the books, and simple as that it came out of the blue. I was going to be making another movie, but it went away, and this one came to me and I read it and responded very strongly. It’s the kind of film that I go to see. The world of the film has the antecedence of kind of 70s movies of great sort of style that I very much admired."
The new movie, based on a script by David Koepp, introduces audiences to a younger version of the character that we’ve never seen. And while previous incarnations of Ryan have shown him as a seasoned agent, this new film will have a new perspective on the character, having him question the road that he has begun to take.
"Jack as a character is really going through a decision process as this is really the origin story," said producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, who has been attached to the new movie for years. "And so the result of it is that you see a guy who doesn’t see the CIA through rose-colored glasses…debating the merit of becoming a part of an organization – let’s just say a government organization of any kind – and what can I really do, what can’t I do."
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