Paramount Pictures likes being in the Chris Pine business. Not only is he heading up the studio’s highly successful Star Trek franchise reboot, they have tapped the actor to star in their relaunch of their Jack Ryan franchise, based on the popular series of novels by Tom Clancy. Initial plans called for Pine to make Paramount’s Jack Ryan feature before reporting for duty on board the starship Enterprise for his second Star Trek film this fall. However, script issues are forcing Paramount and Pine to flip that schedule.
The setback to the Ryan franchise stems from writer Steve Zaillian backing out of a rewrite assignment for the upcoming film. Zaillian, no stranger to franchise having scripted Clear And Present Danger (1994) and did an uncredited polish on Patriot Games (1992), was brought on board just a month ago to do a rewrite of the script currently in development. Zaillian backed out of the project about two weeks later, leaving the studio scrambling to hire another writer.
Deadline is reporting that the while Paramount has “an OK version of Ryan [that] could have been put into production this year,” the studio is more concerned with taking the time to relaunch the franchise as strongly as possible rather than rushing to meet a pre-ordained release date.
The Jack Ryan reboot has its roots back in an Adam Cozad unrelated spec script titled Dubai, which was one the 2007 Black List. At the time, the script had the log line “A young economist is forced to go on the run to prove his innocence after Iranian operatives in Dubai use him as part of a plot to collapse the United States economy.”
Paramount purchased the script and hired Cozad to retool it to relaunch the franchise. Anthony Peckham came on board and took a pass at it followed by another draft from Cozad. Somewhere along the line the title changed to Moscow. The film’s plot would launch out of a line of dialogue from the very first Jack Ryan cinematic adventure, The Hunt For Red October, where it was mentioned that Ryan was the only survivor of helicopter crash when he was a 23-year old Marine platoon leader.
I have to applaud Paramount for how they are handling this. I’m not even a big fan of the franchise or of Clancy’s original novels, but I’m glad to see that they’re not pushing forward with this relaunch until they are happy with the script. Now granted, further delays could motivate signed director Jack Bender to seek other work and that could lead to a further delay while a new director is hired. Overall, though, the caution that the studio is showing is reason to be optimistic.