Just over a week after original director Jack Bender (Lost) dropped out of the project, Paramount looks to have found a suitable replacement to helm their reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games). Vulture reports that Kenneth Branagh is now in negotiations to direct the pic, which sees Star Trek’s Chris Pine take over the franchise that has been toplined in the past by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck. The project has been in development for quite some time, with a number of writers taking a stab at the screenplay. Paramount is hoping to finally get cameras rolling later this year once Pine wraps the Star Trek sequel, and having a director onboard is a fairly crucial necessity to make that happen. Hit the jump to find out what the hold up has been.
Given the revolving door of screenwriters on the project, it’s no surprise that creative differences have lead to this prolonged development process. Vulture hears that Pine wanted to make the film a character-driven espionage movie, producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura wanted an action pic, and Paramount executives were in favor of turning the untitled reboot into a thriller. The issue has been finding a screenwriter who can combine those three genres into one cohesive movie, and apparently David Koepp (Spider-Man) recently turned in a draft that attempts to appease everyone’s demands.
I thought Branagh knocked Thor out of the park, and Paramount is surely hoping he’ll turn the untitled Jack Ryan film into a similar hit. Bringing someone of Branagh’s caliber onboard gives me hope that the studio isn’t all about explosions, and hopefully Pine’s character-driven spy thriller is the take that most prominently shines through. The reboot takes place in present day, so it won’t exactly be in step with the previous films, which were adapted from Tom Clancy’s series of novels. With Branagh nearly set, hopefully things can move forward and Paramount can hit that September 2012 start date to get the film in theaters sometime next year or in 2014.