While speaking to John Krasinski for the Disneynature documentary Born in China, which he narrated and which opens in theaters April 21st, our own Christina Radish also got a chance to talk about the upcoming Jack Ryan TV series. The series comes from executive producer and showrunner Carlton Cuse, with Michael Bay also acting as executive producer for a number of episodes; Krasinski also has producing credits on the series in addition to starring as the title character.
Krasinski is stepping into the role created by Tom Clancy and made famous on the big screen by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck, and most recently, Chris Pine. However, the ability to tell Ryan’s story from desk worker to field operative over the course of eight episodes rather than a single movie should offer up interesting possibilities for the character and the creative team. Krasinski and Bay already share prior working experience thanks to the war drama 13 Hours, an experience that has prepped Krasinski for the action-heavy role. But there’s more to Ryan than guns and fisticuffs, as he explains below.
Here are Krasinski’s thoughts on getting back into action after he was put through his paces by Bay in 13 Hours:
I think if you’re going to be baptized by fire, it’s more like being baptized by Bay. When I did a Michael Bay movie, I was ready and willing to take on the action world, no matter where it takes you.
But since Jack Ryan isn’t a straightforward action hero, expect the show to reflect that:
For me, this is really exciting because it’s an action role, for sure, but it’s also this really intricate brainy guy, too. It’s been really interesting to me. The most important part of it for me was when they told me we would be going back to the early days of Jack Ryan. The character starts as an analyst, literally at a desk. That’s where you find Jack Ryan in this. He’s just a numbers guy. He’s crunching numbers for the CIA, and he stumbles upon something. And so, you get to see this incredibly wild arc of a guy who thought he was basically pencil-pushing for the CIA, and then he’s brought on this incredible adventure because one of the things he was researching turns out to be real. You get the whole spectrum of everything, and I think that that’s really cool. It feels very gritty and very real, and yet, at the same time, there are huge military vehicle scenes and elaborate fight scenes. All the good stuff is in there, too.
While the action might be difficult, it’s actually the particular mode of production for Jack Ryan that surprised Krasinski the most:
It’s certainly shooting eight episodes at once. We’re cross-boarding everything. I know that’s how they do it on Game of Thrones, but that’s a pretty wild experience, for the directors, the actors and the crew. To leave a scene that’s at the end of Episode 4, and then go to the next stage and shoot the first scene of the whole series, and then, at the end of the day, shoot the last scene of the whole series is pretty wild.
Wild or not, Krasinski had to dive in with both feet, and he’s glad he did:
It’s a huge production, and that’s something that I’m really proud of. And I know that Paramount and Amazon are proud of it, too. This isn’t a project that you half-ass. I love that the people behind it – Paramount and Amazon – are so fully invested in this show. They also respect the property, so much. They know what this character means to people and they want to take it to a new level. It almost feels like it’s not being brought to TV. It’s being brought to a whole new medium.
Keep an eye out for Jack Ryan on Amazon later this year.