In late 2006 came word that Paramount Pictures was planning to continue its successful Jack Ryan action franchise with a fifth film that would NOT be based on one of Tom Clancy’s books.
Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck played the character in four highly successful thrillers from 1990-2002 including “The Hunt for Red October,” “Patriot Games,” “Clear and Present Danger” and “The Sum of All Fears.”
The series was always a solid international earner for the studio, each taking in around $200 million globally from budgets about a third that amount. The studio still owns the film rights to the Ryan character and have every legal right to move forward with a film using him and whatever story they wished.
Then last year Director Philip Noyce was attached to reunite with Harrison Ford on the project which was entitled “By Any Means Necessary”. The pair had previously worked on 1992’s “Patriot Games” and 1994’s “Clear and Present Danger” featuring the character.
Now, Noyce tells Moviehole that both he and Ford are no longer returning to the Jack Ryan series but the project remains in the works and he’s heard that acclaimed young actor Ryan Gosling will be playing Ryan.
How the film will fit into the context of the series is a big question. 2002’s “Sum of All Fears” was one of the first examples of the now common practice of ‘rebooting’ a major Hollywood franchise. Yet whilst generally drawing positive reviews, ‘Sum’ was heavily criticised for its casting of Ben Affleck in the lead role of a young Ryan. A more acclaimed thesp like Gosling in the lead role will no doubt draw more favorable reviews.
The lack of utilising a book is also not unexpected – chronologically the next book in the series is “Debt of Honor” which many consider unfilmable as the ending involves the terrorist hijacking of a passenger jet which is then crashed into the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. during a joint session of Congress.
If they do go ahead, its unlikely that Clancy will give them permission to develop a franchise based on his other lead character John Clark as he still owns the rights to that character and the books involving him including “Without Remorse” and “Rainbow Six.”