Keira Knightley Talks JACK RYAN and Her Desire to Do a Thriller; Says Kenneth Branagh’s Involvement Drew Her to the Project

     September 18, 2012

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A reboot of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan character has been in the works for the past few years, but the project has now finally gotten off the ground under the direction of Kenneth Branagh as Jack Ryan is currently in production.  Chris Pine steps into the role that was previously portrayed onscreen by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot GamesClear and Present Danger), and Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears), and this time around the titular Jack Ryan is an ex-Marine working as a Moscow-based financial analyst.  Conflict is set in motion when he uncovers a plot by his employer (Branagh, pulling double duty) to finance a terrorist attack designed to collapse the U.S. economy.

Keira Knightley is set as the film’s female lead, and Steve recently spoke with the actress at the Toronto Film Festival for her upcoming romantic drama adaptation Anna Karenina.  Knightley talked about what incited her to do a large-scale thriller after dabbling in smaller budget fare over the past few years and how her affection for Branagh drew her to the project.  Hit the jump to see what she had to say. 

chris-pine-jack-ryanKnightley cited the somewhat dark nature of her past few projects as a motivation to do something a bit lighter in tone:

“I thought, ‘I think I’d quite like to do something that’s just entertainment’—not just entertainment, but entertainment in that kind of Hollywood sort of run-around, explosions [vein].  I’ve always loved thrillers; thrillers are incredibly difficult to do which is why there’s so few of them made now, and [the Jack Ryan films] have always been really good thrillers, so I sort of fancied that.”

The actress also said that the opportunity to work with Kenneth Branagh, who is both directing and acting in Jack Ryan, was also a major draw:

“Hugely, I’m working with Kenneth Branagh who has been a hero of mine since I was about 6 or 7, so getting to be directed by him and act with him is something that I just thought, ‘I want to do that.’”

Knightley consciously chose to do smaller films in the wake of the massive Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, but following the intense drama of films like Never Let Me Go and A Dangerous Method, a Jack Ryan‘s sharp thriller tone is understandably appealing. You can watch the portion of Steve’s interview with Knightley regarding Jack Ryan below, and look for the full interview closer to the release of Anna Karenina.

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