Keira Knightley Scores Female Lead in Branagh's 'Jack Ryan' Movie
While Kenneth Branagh is both directing and playing the villain in the new still untitled Jack Ryan prequel for Paramount, he's just found a leading lady who, like him, shares a penchant for period pieces and dramatic performances. THR reports that Keira Knightley is ready to step out of her flowery corsets and into modern attire to play the wife of Chris Pine's Jack Ryan in the new movie, beating out actresses like "Lost" star Evangeline Lilly and Like Crazy star Felicity Jones for the coveted role. This will be the first big franchise she'll be in since Pirates, and naturally there's talk she could reprise the role in up to three films.
The role of Jack Ryan's wife has been played on screen a few times before. Gates McFadden first played her opposite Alec Baldwin's Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October, Anne Archer starred opposite Harrison Ford's version of the character in Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games, and Bridget Moynahan took the part opposite Ben Affleck in 2002's The Sum of All Fears. Total Recall stars Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale were reportedly both offered the part this time around but turned it down, so the race was down to three and Knightley came out on top. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Jones step up to the big leagues with a role like this, but I guess Knightley will have to do.
Her latest film, Seeking A Friend For The End of the World, was a welcome change for her and I'm frankly getting tired of seeing her in countless period pieces, so hopefully she'll fit nicely in Branagh's cinematic world. Casting continues as they gear up to start production, so stay tuned. What do you think of Knightley?