Appearing at FX’s Television Critics Association panel to talk about “The Strain” yesterday, producer Carlton Cuse also spoke about the other small screen projects he’s involved in – one of them being the in development Jack Ryan TV series at Amazon.
That project is set to star John Krasinski as the CIA analyst of the Tom Clancy novels and surprisingly Cuse revealed to Slashfilm that the show originally began as a straight adaptation of “Clear and Present Danger”. The fourth novel in the Jack Ryan series, ‘Clear’ was previously adapted into the Phil Noyce-directed 1994 movie starring Harrison Ford as Ryan:
“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.”
Cuse acknowledged that adapting Clancy’s books is tricky as they’re period pieces of the political climate in which they were written. Attempts to modernise or update it, such as the reboot of the franchise with Chris Pine last year, failed. It’s a tricky balance, but he feels TV is the better format for the works:
“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.
I think the great opportunity that exists for Jack Ryan is that the Clancy books were these huge sprawling epics. 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.”
Amazon has not officially ordered the Jack Ryan series as yet. Cuse is also in the midst of working on the fifth and final season of his “Psycho” prequel series “Bates Motel”.