There are some movies that I feel like I’ve been writing about since I’ve started on this blog that still haven’t been made. The Jack Ryan prequel is one of them.
After the very successful “The Hunt for Red October,” “Patriot Games, “Clear and Present Danger,” and the less successful “The Sum of All Fears,” the Tom Clancy created character languished, until Paramount decided that it was time to revive him. The studio decided to make him younger and after much debate, cast Chris Pine, fresh off his success in “Star Trek.” Yes, that long ago.
There finally seemed to be some forward movement when we got word last week that Jack Bender, who had been chosen to direct, had dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, seemingly throwing the project off track again. I envisioned myself in the future, writing about how they were going to recast Ryan because Pine was too old.
Not so fast! Variety reports that Paramount has selected Kenneth Branagh to take over the directing duties. Sounds like an upgrade to me.
I was talking about “Thor” this weekend with someone and we agreed that in terms of being a great superhero movie, it’s not a contender, but it’s fun. And that’s actually what I always say about Branagh’s work, whether he’s playing Hamlet or directing a movie about a Norse god on earth–he’s having fun, where others are just working so hard. He’s not an actor who wants you to think, “Wow, look at him ACT!!!” No, he gives off a feeling like, “I’m enjoying this so much, I hope you are too.” I think that carries over to his directing, too. It’s a quality many people in the movie industry lack.
Mace Neufield, one of the Ryan film producers, had previously discussed the project with ComingSoon:
We pick him up when he’s on Wall Street,” he said. “…[but] 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.”
Wow, he’s just a full bucket of awesome.
Branagh is also slated to direct “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society” with Kate Winslet (I think this is less dreadful than it sounds), but it’s unclear if the Jack Ryan movie (which is still untitled) will go first.