Dec 9, 2009

Producer On Jack Ryan's Future

Who knew the Invictus press tour would yield so much spy information? Hot on the heels of Matt Damon's bombshell that he wouldn't return for more Bourne without director Paul Greengrass (who just announced he wasn't returning) comes information from producer Mace Neufeld on the next Jack Ryan movie. Once again, Dark Horizons is the source, this time, in turn, citing Coming Soon. First Neufeld (who has produced all of the Ryan movies so far, going back to The Hunt For Red October) confirmed what we already know: the next movie, starring Star Trek's Chris Pine as the fourth Jack Ryan (following Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck) won't be based on a Tom Clancy novel, but instead on an original screenplay by Hossein Amini, which is currently being re-written by Adam Cozad. He then went into a bit more detail on the project, claiming that while the plan is to skew young with Pine, the new film is not an origin story. "We pick him up when he's on Wall Street," said Neufeld, adding that "the Jack Ryan movies have never been action films. They're kind of 'thinking man's thrillers.' Jack is referred to as a 'water-walker' because of his ability to jump ahead to conclusions. That's very big in all the Jack Ryan films and that's how we want to portray him. He's a teacher. He's a historian. He's a linguist, and he's really smart." Well, Neufeld clearly knows what sets Ryan apart from Bond and Bourne and all the others of his ilk (as he should, with all of his experience with the character). But what does he mean by saying it's not an origin story, then contradicting himself by revealing that they pick him up when he's on Wall Street? Going by Ryan's career as outlined by Clancy, he was on Wall Street prior to teaching at the Naval Academy or working for the CIA. So wouldn't setting the movie in that period of his life automatically make this something of an origin story? Whatever. I'm sure things will become clearer as this project progresses.

Clancy, it should be noted, has rarely been happy with the screen portrayals of his famous analyst, taking a shine only to Ben Affleck. I can't imagine he's happy that they're not working from one of his books this time around, but he's probably washed his hands of the film franchise anyway. Personally, I don't think there's any need stick to the novels. Jack Ryan's career in the books took him up through the ranks of the Intelligence Community, and eventually into the White House. While it might work in a TV miniseries, that sort of trajectory simply isn't as interesting on film as focusing on his days as a CIA analyst. (An analyst, it should be noted, with a knack for finding himself in the field, be it on submarines, fighting terrorists on the Potomac, or dodging missiles in South America.) And since Clancy's novels about that period of Ryan's career are so mired in the Cold War and the filmmakers seem determined not to make the movies period pieces, well, that leaves original adventures as pretty much the only avenue open. Maybe one day we'll see versions of these stories (and Robert Ludlum's) set in the 80s. I think that would be cool. But for now, everyone seems intent on keeping their spies as contemporary as possible.


Delmo said...

Clancy liked Affleck over Baldwin & Ford? That's like Robert B.Parker preferring the doughy Joe Mantegna over the in shape Robert Urich as Spenser. Sometimes these authors can't see the forest for the trees.

Anonymous said...

Clancy wrote 'Red Rabbit' with Affleck in mind.