Of all the attempts to bring the Jack Ryan series of books to the screen, with varying degrees of success, one novel has always stood head and shoulders above the others as the story the fans wanted to see. Prequel novel Without Remorse.
The story of shadowy CIA special operative John Clark, who is a central character in many of the later Jack Ryan novels.
He has been played by Willem Defoe (Clear And Present Danger) and Liev Schrieber (The Sum Of All Fears). The novel tells the story of how this ex-Navy Seal became the operative from the Tom Clancy adventures and is set at the tail end of the Vietnam war.
He is an Irish Catholic and is referred to throughout the novels as “…the white guy” or “…some white dude”. Indeed, his ethnicity is an important story point during Without Remorse due to the complex arrangements of his drug-dealing foes.
So it was with a resigned sense of inevitability when Hollywood announced the casting of Michael B. Jordan in the role. With talk of a black James Bond as well, we eagerly await the casting of Eric Stoltz as Shaft. But of course, color-blind casting is not color blind at all. And we all know, if this movie fails, it will be because everyone who stayed at home is a racist? Right?
Now, with a second “WTF?” moment, we hear Tom Holland lookalike Jamie Bell is in final negotiations to play the scheming CIA deputy director of operations, Robert Ritter.
In the novel, it is Ritter, a senior and experienced intelligence professional himself, who helps recruit Clark into the CIA.
Stefano Sollima (Sicario: Day Of The Soldado) directs. Taylor Sheridan has written the script with Jordan himself, Akiva Goldsman, Josh Appelbaum, and Andre Nemec producing.
Paramount is aiming to build a franchise around Clark. Rainbow Six may be next up if this doesn’t bomb.