Sam Raimi Reviving Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan by 2010

March 18, 2008
Source: Variety

Jack Ryan

After finishing his nostalgic low-budget horror piece Drag Me to Hell, Spider-Man director Sam Raimi won't be be directing Spider-Man 4 or The Hobbit next, instead he'll be directing a new series of films that feature the revival of Jack Ryan, the CIA analyst created by legendary author Tom Clancy. Variety confirms today that Raimi is in negotiations to sprearhead the new franchise that is being developed by Paramount. Details are unclear at this early stage, but the series might feature Ryan at a younger age than previously seen in other films.

Paramount owns the rights to the Ryan character and has the first look option on any new material. Tom Clancy is currently finishing another new novel featuring Jack Ryan, but the studio hasn't read it yet and is interested in reviving this franchise with an original story. The idea is to have Raimi develop and direct a series of films to be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Constantine, Shooter, Transformers, G.I. Joe) that would feature Jack Ryan at a younger, more formative point in his career than previously depicted. One invention the studio is considering is to set the film in the present, with the action triggered by a global threat.

Although I would have never guessed, Raimi is interested in the project because he loves the character. And in turn, Paramount knows that Raimi can turn out solid movies that make lots of money. This doesn't necessarily mean he won't direct Spider-Man 4, but if he does sign onto this, then he won't have time for the fourth Spider-Man film until he finishes making this. Paramount is trying to ready this franchise for the summer of 2010, filling future tentpole slots as early as possible.

Jack Ryan was previously featured in four Tom Clancy movies: The Hunt for Red October (played by Alec Baldwin), Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger (played by Harrison Ford), and The Sum of All Fears (played by Ben Affleck). Ryan is the cerebral CIA analyst who climbed the political ladder and became an Everyman action hero star in the aforementioned four films. He's been featured in Tom Clancy novels since The Hunt for Red October in 1984.

A previous report from Empire in January rumored that Ryan Gosling might play Jack Ryan. This still isn't confirmed and the only officially announced information surrounds Sam Raimi's involvement.

It's definitely now our mission to seek out Raimi and question him on this series. I'm curious to find out how interested in the character he actually is - I can understand a passion for Spider-Man, but I just can't see Raimi loving the character of Jack Ryan as much as Peter Parker. We'll be sure to update you once we hear more on this project.

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At this point, a John Clark-centric film is probably a better bet. With four Ryanverse movies out of the running, the only remaining material of young Jack Ryan (sans-Sum of All Fears story butchering) puts you at Red Rabbit or Cardinal of the Kremlin. The latter was a fantastic technical read, but would plod meticulously onscreen. Red Rabbit was not Clancy's best work, and would retread the same stale turf painfully covered by Robert de Niro's The Good Shepherd. Incidentally enough, Paramount previously attempted to deliver Without Remorse and Rainbow Six, but persistent delays led to inevitable shelving, and there hasn't been much word since. Remorse is problematic because of the schizophrenic nature of the script, given that it's John (Kelly) Clark's personal history and not designed to be a Hollywood blockbuster. But Rainbow Six in the right hands would be a mesmerizing, incredible experience well-suited for visual interpretation. I was disappointed when that project fell aside, and I remain hopeful that even with the slightly outdated material (based on the 2000 Sydney Olympics), someone successfully gives the project its due. Perhaps the best material to draw from in the Ryanverse comes from Debt of Honor, but due to the sensitive -- almost prophetic -- nature of the content (the Japanese flying a plane into the Capitol Building during the State of the Union, killing everyone inside) and the obvious parallels, it's highly unlikely anyone at Paramount would be willing to invest in it. That leaves you Executive Orders (outdated), The Bear and the Dragon (great material, but Jack Ryan is already President), and The Teeth of the Tiger (based on Jack's son). All good books, but lacking purpose at this point and juncture for the series. Now we just have to hope and pray that Paramount doesn't see fit to destroy the storylines any further by arbitrarily rewriting them, as was the case in Sum of All Fears, which bared virtually no resemblance to its written counterpart. Raimi has already demonstrated some disturbing creative license by refocusing Spiderman against Green Goblin and Sandman, while practically sweeping Venom under the rug. I'm not so sure I'd trust him here with so much at stake. And why was there no mention of involving Clancy himself in the production? He's a much better script writer than he's been given credit for up to this point.

Devon Shaw on Mar 18, 2008


if i read it right theyre looking for a story about jack ryan not written by clancy? or expect him to write somethin that theyre looking for the jack ryan movies are great, some of my favorites the best being clear and present danger so i hope raimi doesnt ruin them by thinking he can make them better with cgi and more family friendly, atleast hes not directing the hobbit though

harrison on Mar 19, 2008


To me it sounds like they are just making a spy series like Bourne but just calling the lead character Jack Ryan. I doubt that they are remaking SUm of All Fears, Red October, etc.

Ryan on Mar 19, 2008


I agree with Devon, John Clark, Ding Chavez and Rainbow Six would be awesome

Rob G on Mar 19, 2008


I would love to see a Debt of Honor and then Executive Orders release

nick on Oct 17, 2009

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