It’s been a while since we first told you that Amazon are bringing one of the late Tom Clancy’s most famous creations, CIA agent Jack Ryan, to the streaming service as one of their Amazon Original series. The character’s hit the big screen five times since the early 90’s, with Adam Baldwin, Harrison Ford (twice), Ben Affleck and Chris Pine all stepping into the role, and now it’s the turn of John Krasinski (The Office, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Bengazi) to bring him to life on the small screen.
The actor recently spoke to Collider about the upcoming series, specifically about how recent changes in the TV landscape have enabled the medium to move into areas that were previously the domain of big budget movies, saying:
We’re doing 10 episodes and I think the interesting part about it is exactly what you said, everything’s changed so much; the line between film and TV has blurred so much over the years, I think Jack Ryan is a product of that blurring so much that I think that they’re not even really considering it a TV show, they’re calling it a movie that’s being told in 10 parts; and that’s not just an argument of semantics, it’s actually true.[Show runner] Carlton Cuse’s whole plan is we’re gonna shoot it on a movie budget, we’re gonna have the same stunts as movies, it’s gonna feel like a movie but you’re gonna watch it every week. His whole idea was he just felt that two hours wasn’t enough time to tell a Jack Ryan story because Tom Clancy’s books are so detailed and rich, and the character of Jack Ryan if he has a superpower is his intelligence, so there’s a lot of problem solving and things that take time, and that’s the beauty of the spy genre. That’s what I found was the best pitch to me is it’s really just what’s the best format to tell this story?
Something that Cuse echoed in an interview with Slashfilm:
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.
Cuse also said that the series initially planned to adapt the novel ‘Clear and Present Danger’ (which was also the subject of Harrison Ford’s second outing in 1994) but during development realised that Clancy’s novels were very much a product of their time, namely the US/Soviet Union Cold War conflict, and would need be updated to make them relevant to today and so shifted tack:
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.
Krasinki also revealed that, should the show get more than a single season, each subsequent season would focus on a new threat:
Every year they’re gonna be different. They’re sort of more ripped-from-the-headlines type stuff, so the first year the villain or I don’t know what you want to call it is it’s taking on ISIS for sure.
While I’m not against the updating of the characters and settings, I think it’s worth pointing out that the spy series The Americans is set in the Cold War time period and is extremely popular with audiences. I’m interested to see just what the series will be like though – will it be a nuanced take on the ISIS conflict, or will it be a bombastic Tom Clancy’s American Hero saves the day?
What do you think?
Amazon’s Jack Ryan series is due to start production in January 2017 and, presumably, air closer to the end of the year.
Last Updated: August 25, 2016