Paramount has been trying to reboot the Jack Ryan franchise for years now. The studio is finally beginning to make real progress—not only on the Jack Ryan movie starring Chris Pine, but also on the spinoff Without Remorse. The key was locking up Kenneth Branagh to direct and play the villain in the former. Kevin Costner has now accepted the offer to star in both films as the CIA liason for Jack Ryan and Without Remorse lead character John Clark. Christopher McQuarrie (Valkyrie) is in talks to write and direct Without Remorse, but it’s this next bit of news that will excite the legions of This Means War fans out there: Deadline reports that Paramount is courting Tom Hardy to play John Clark. More after the jump.
This Means War digs aside, Paramount would be wise and lucky to anchor its spy franchise with Pine and Hardy, two of the handsomest young charmers in Hollywood. The report does not address Hardy’s interest level, so we’ll have to check back to see if the actor wants the part as much as I want him to take it.
Deadline describes Costner’s character as “William Harper, a true blue American idealist who recruits and mentors both Ryan and John Kelly, the latter of whom becomes the CIA operative Clark by the end of Without Remorse.” The deal reportedly includes an option for Costner to headline his own film in addition to his supporting role in the Jack Ryan movie and Without Remorse.
Essentially, if audiences are ready to invite Jack Ryan back into their lives, Paramount is ready to capitalize on the demand. I hope you too see the appeal in an Avengers-style franchise targeted toward adults.
The synopsis for Tom Clancy‘s Without Remorse sheds some light on the relationship between Jack Ryan and John Clark.
Avid readers of Clancy’s bestselling techno-thrillers (The Hunt for Red October et al.) know agent John Kelly, code-named Mr. Clark, as Jack Ryan’s “dark side.” Here, in 1970, Vietnam vet Kelly gets involved in a secret operation to rescue 20 American pilots from a North Vietnamese prison camp. Betrayed by someone in Washington, the mission ends in apparent failure. Clancy balances the military movements with a dark narrative of Kelly’s tragic personal life. While mourning the death of his pregnant wife in a traffic accident, Kelly picks up a young hitchhiker named Pam, a prostitute and drug “mule” fleeing her cruel masters. The pair fall in love and set out to bring down the drug lords, but an error on Kelly’s part leads to Pam’s horrible demise at the hands of the vengeful criminals. After his own recovery from a shotgun blast, Kelly begins methodically to murder his way through the drug ring. [Amazon]