It’s been 12 years since we last saw Tom Clancy’s iconic CIA analyst Jack Ryan on the silver screen (The Sum of all Fears), but now he’s back in the all new adventure titled Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Unlike the other films in the franchise, this one is not based on any of Clancy’s novels and, like the last Jack Ryan adventure, it serves to reboot the popular character for a new generation of moviegoers.
With this outing, Star Trek’s Chris Pine becomes the fourth actor to play Ryan, following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck, and we meet up with the character while he’s an Economics major at a college in London. After the horrific attack on 9/11, Ryan joins the Marines to fight for his country and ends up getting seriously injured in combat. He spends the next year or so recovering from his injuries, and during that time he meets Cathy Muller (Keira Knightley), whom he falls for, and William Harper (Kevin Costner), who soon recruits him to become a member of the CIA.
This movie follows Ryan as he uncovers evidence of an imminent terrorist attack. But with no evidence to back up his discovery, he is forced to travel to Moscow where he encounters enigmatic businessman Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Branagh), who is at the center of a plot designed to cripple the global economy. What Ryan believed would be a simple desk job soon thrusts him into a realm dominated by terrorism and corruption, and we watch as he continually rises above it all to save the day.
Last week we had the chance to hear from Pine, Branagh and Costner when they appeared for the Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit press conference, which was held at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. They were joined by producers Mace Neufeld and Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Together, they all discussed the making of the film, revealing some interesting tidbits along the way.
Check it all out below and enjoy!
Chris, was it more or less intimidating to step into Jack Ryan’s fabled shoes than to do Star Trek?
Chris Pine: Well I think the great thing about the Jack Ryan films is that the plot and the story always take center stage. If you’ve done your job as the actor portraying Jack Ryan, you are present enough to make an impact but you let the story shine. We had a great story that David Koepp came up with. With Kirk, obviously, Shatner made such a deep impression in the zeitgeist that it’s a different thing entirely.
Kevin, you’ve been in Russian spy thrillers before. No Way Out was one of your best movies. How have things changed from the 20th century to the 21st century for Ryan?
Kevin Costner: I don’t know what’s changed really. Hopefully, when our movies are realer, they get realer when they happen to be the James Bond situation where a guy parachutes in and that kind of thing. That’s another kind of spy movie. Our job is to entertain and to find the rhythms that do that, the language of the day, and hopefully, we don’t try to reinvent the wheel because spies are trying not to get caught, trying to stop bad things. Hopefully, the level of sophistication always is going up.
Mr. Branagh, this character and this milieu have its roots in a very different era, historically, culturally and geopolitically. I’m wondering what were the pleasures and challenges of bringing Mr. Ryan into this age and what made it worth doing at the same time?
Kenneth Branagh: I loved the previous pictures and the books. I liked the Cold War era and the big, sort of elemental standoff between, in this case, Russia and America and East and West and all the old and new empires. One of the excitements about trying to reimagine it was finding a world so that there’d be the interconnectivity of the financial markets, which was one that was interesting and a bit of a brain teaser for me. Chris was very good at understanding it, thank God.
But to be able to put Jack Ryan there at a time when it was a different kind of elemental faceoff between Russia and America and where one tiny event in one part of the world can serve dramatically and catastrophically influence a larger event elsewhere with that same sort of good principled, moral-conscienced man in a very much dirtier world, for me, that was pretty interesting. Although Chris has the right to say that the story and the plot in these pictures is very important, for me, it was a huge, huge pleasure to work with these two great actors and to be able to also follow what also I think is a big part of it, which is watching them think and deal with it in a layered way. The human dimension of the story as portrayed by these fellows was a huge pleasure for me in trying to make the movie.