The Television Critics Association can always be relied upon to deliver interesting snippets of information about small-screen projects, both old and new. With the 2016 panels currently underway, the press had the chance to quiz producer Carlton Cuse about the upcoming Jack Ryan series he’s developing for Amazon.
The casting of John Krasinski (The Office) in the titular role has already been announced, but beyond that, little is known about the plan to move this familiar character – largely known for cinematic outings – to television. Cuse was quick to explain that the idea began as an adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel, Clear And Present Danger.
“We started working on an adaptation on Clear And Present Danger and then decided it just felt dated. It really led to this revelation that the thing that defined Tom Clancy was that his thrillers were very much geopolitical thrillers of the moment. They really tapped into something that was going on in the world, so we’re doing an ISIS/ISIL type story. It feels very much connected to what’s happening in the world right now.
“When you start adapting them, you realize it just didn’t feel contemporary as when we started working on it. So we’re keeping the characters and the same general sense of all those things that made Clancy Clancy, but telling a wholly original story.”
This news makes the prospect of the series far more interesting than a direct adaptation of a literary work that was already turned into a Harrison Ford movie over 20 years ago. The real strength of Tom Clancy’s literary legacy is the depth of detail included in each of his books. This approach, layered over current geopolitical situations lends itself to something that has the potential to run and run. As Cuse pointed out, we may well find that Jack Ryan is more at home on the small screen than he was on the large.
“They’re 600, 700, 800 pages long. It’s really almost impossible to take a book that length and reduce it to a two-hour movie, but across a ten-hour show on Amazon, you can tell a sprawling mosaic story and add in color and depth at a level that you just can’t do in a theatrical motion picture. [Also], it’s streaming so there aren’t tight parameters about episode run times.”
Amazon has yet to officially pick Jack Ryan up for series, but with Carlton Cuse on board, and a contemporary Tom Clancy-esque story led by John Krasinski, it will surely only be a matter of time.