Of the plethora of popular literary characters that have had trouble making the leap to the big screen, Jack Ryan has probably had the most chances. First, there was Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October, who did a very good job in an enjoyable enough movie. Then, in an inexplicable change-up, Harrison Ford took up Tom Clancy‘s long-suffering CIA analyst in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, two very entertaining political thrillers that doubled as action films. But Ford was not what Clancy envisioned, as Ryan was meant to be substantially younger than the grey-haired Star Wars thespian. That’s what led producers to back The Sum of All Fears with Ben Affleck in the role. The casting worked, for the most part, but the movie was a disaster, somehow making the spectre of a major terrorist attack into a bore.
A few years ago, they tried again with Jack Ryan – Shadow Recruit, which starred Chris Pine as the young analyst which, again, offered very good casting but little in the way of substantive entertainment from director-star Kenneth Branagh. You’d think that’d be it, but you’d be wrong, as news today confirms that Amazon is officially releasing Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan as a 10-episode series. This time, Ryan will be played by John Krasinski, who recently went full-on military man for Michael Bay‘s 13 Hours. And again, Krasinski is the perfect fit for the character in his youngest incarnation, with the series focusing on the CIA analyst’s early days at the agency before he’s tossed into field operations to help with the hunt for a terrorist organization.
As TV Line reports, Lost producers Carlton Cuse and Graham Rolland will serve as co-creators on the series, while Bay will act as executive producer, which does make me a bit nervous. Bay’s other big series, The Last Ship, took its militaristic heroes and age-old national conflicts so seriously and made each moment so earnestly tense that the tone smothered out all charm, wit, and humanity. It is, as so many Bay films are, a love letter to America’s armed services without the love. Complicated, humane character who happen to be soldiers are replaced with martyr-complex-driven warriors who only think about national safety and family values. Fingers crossed that this is not the way that Cuse and Rolland decide to go with the show, at least not exclusively.