In your mind’s eye when you picture ex-Marine turned CIA analyst Jack Ryan, who do you see?
Is he a dark-haired, suave six-foot movie star with a hot temper and a racy Twitter account? Or maybe a world-weary fellow with a scar on his chin and a resemblance to Indiana Jones? Or how about the Red Sox fan formerly known as Bennifer?
Created by writer Tom Clancy, Jack Ryan is the lead character in nine novels and the star of five films. This weekend we’ll see him uncover a Russian plot to destroy the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.
Chris Pine, best known as Captain Kirk in the recently rebooted Star Trek series, is the newest member of the Ryanverse, and hopes to bring something new to the character.
“I can’t be Alec Baldwin,” he told Empire. “I can’t be Harrison Ford. I can only really do my own thing and stay true to the pillars of this character.”
Baldwin originated Ryan on screen in the 1990 high-tech thriller The Hunt for Red October.
The movie could have been the beginning of a James Bond-esque franchise for Baldwin, but he left the series after just one outing despite the film being one of the top grossing movies of the year. In a Huffington Post blog he says he was pushed aside for another actor “with much greater strength at the box office.”
Baldwin doesn’t name names, but Harrison Ford soon signed on, playing Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
Author Clancy, who passed away in 2013, was not a fan of the Ford years. He thought the two movies dumbed down his original stories and thought Ford was too old to play the role. “Giving your book to Hollywood is like turning your daughter over to a pimp,” he said.
Next up was Ben Affleck, who took over in the 2002 prequel The Sum of All Fears.
“The day I received the offer to play Jack Ryan,” said Affleck, “I was filming a Pearl Harbor scene with Alec Baldwin. He was very sweet and said I should do it.”
The part’s originator has become the go-to guy with actors who sign up to play Ryan. When he was offered the part, Pine was shooting Guardians of the Galaxy with Baldwin. “He urged me to hold onto it,” said Pine, “and to attack it.”