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Steve Zaillian Writing Original ‘Jack Ryan’ Movie

Written by on February 2, 2011 

A short post from Mike Fleming and Deadline: Schindler’s List Oscar-winning scribe Steve Zaillian is reportedly writing Paramount’s next Jack Ryan film. But then, it would seem everyone’s been trying to for forever.

This next film, known up to now only as Moscow, would be the fifth installment in the series and its first original story, not based on any existing Tom Clancy novel or story. Lost‘s Jack Bender is directing Chris Pine in the role of the CIA analyst – and frequently the reluctant savior of the free world – Jack Ryan. Zaillian had previously scripted the 1994’s A Clear and Present Danger, which starred Harrison Ford as Ryan for the second and final time.

The Clancy/Jack Ryan series seems to be a franchise that Paramount has a hard time figuring out. The series began with 1990’s The Hunt for Red October, directed by John McTiernan, with a pretty solid Alec Baldwin as Ryan, although Sean Connery‘s defecting Russian submarine captain stole the show (and got top-billing). Ford took over the role in director Philip Noyce‘s excellent Patriot Games in 1992, and again in A Clear and Present Danger. After that, Jack Ryan somehow grew twenty years younger and became Ben Affleck in 2002’s The Sum Of All Fears.

Now they are rebooting yet again, ignoring all the existing Jack Ryan novels. The talent involved is undeniably strong, and with Pine’s recent tough-guy-with-a-sense-of-humor turns in Star Trek and Unstoppable, I actually think he’ll make a good Ryan.

Still, I think the powers that be are letting an interesting opportunity slide right by them. In Clancy’s later Jack Ryan books, Ryan becomes President of the United States and his son Jack Ryan Jr. ends up in a variety of dangerous situations. There is also a Clancy-penned prequel, Red Rabbit, with a younger Ryan involved in thwarting the real-life 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.

Given the recent reboot mania (and the upcoming 1960’s set X-Men: First Class), could Zaillian’s original script be an improved spin on the poorly-reviewed Clancy novel? Maybe. Maybe not. I’d like to see Ford play an older Ryan, with Pine as his son… but that’s not likely. More on this as details emerge.

Will Chris Pine be a good Jack Ryan? Are you a fan of the series, and if so, which film is your favorite?




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