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Rival Jack Ryan film in development?

Dafoe-ClearandPresentDanger.jpgIt seems that while the reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise is happy to forget Tom Clancy and move on, Hollywood isn't, and another production has picked up the rights to a Tom Clancy novel and is set to adapt that into a film.

Not just that, but the writer on the project is a really good one, and is set to create a franchise of a leading Tom Clancy character. New Hollywood Jack Ryan versus Tom Clancy's John Clark anyone?

Yes, the character that is the focus of this film, and the proposed franchise, is John Clark, and if you're a fan of Tom Clancy and have followed all the news about his film ventures you'll know that the long talked about and almost made it into production version of Rainbow Six (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) featured John Clark. You could surmise from this that if the franchise works then that film could be back on.

However we have to rewind. Without Remorse (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com) is the Clancy novel set for adaptation by Paramount and it tells the first story of CIA operative John Clark and begins to chart his rise through the ranks.

That name is obviously known to the fans of the novels, but it might also be familiar to some of you who have followed the films, for in Clear and Present Danger it was the character played by Willem Dafoe and Liev Schrieber in The Sum of All Fears. Forgetting the second alleged Tom Clancy-Jack Ryan film there, the first shows the difference between this character and Jack Ryan.

In Clear and Present Danger we saw Ryan as the operative behind the desk being stabbed in the back by more paper and having to head out to see the real human cost of the paper shuffling – don't get me wrong it was a good film and I loved the way the character became involved and struggled with the reality of all the front line action, but that's not John Clark.

Dafoe played John Clark and he was the man in there, organising and controlling the team who went through the jungle to destroy the drug cartels and the man who went in after them and got right into the thick of the action.

While Ryan sits behind a desk and is pulled into the events, Clark is more the hands on, get in there, front line kind of guy. Much better for film.

I haven't read the novel Without Remorse but the story from N.Y. Magazine Vulture through Collider does tell is that it's a particularly gritty and realistic novel that goes well beyond a PG-13, as do many of Clancy's novels for their sheer realism, and that it encompasses quite a number of threads that just won't make it into one film.

It's an interesting set-up as well, for Paramount is the studio that is behind both the Jack Ryan reboot, without a Clancy novel to back it up, and also this new Tom Clancy fed John Clark adaptation.

Are both going to win out and Paramount will have two different Tom Clancy based character franchises on the go? Right now, if I'm being honest, I don't care. I want the John Clark franchise to happen more than I want to see more Jack Ryan. The Ryan reboot is happening without any Tom Clancy material adaptation and while Adam Cozad submitted a draft of the script it's in a rewrite with Anthony Peckham.

With this adaptation of Without Remorse, they've pulled in a superb writer of an utterly brilliant television series (I'm not biased) Shawn Ryan from The Shield. Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and David Ellison are producing the adaptation, so all round this sounds like it could be superb. Imagine the style of The Shield portraying a Tom Clancy character who is really at the front line, not behind a desk?

For me this smells of success, especially as this Clancy character is the one that leads the Rainbow Six team, and you can just see that one the horizon if the franchise takes off. Goodbye Ryan, hello Clark.



Without Remorse was a great book, and I'd always hoped they'd make it with Dafoe as the lead - I guess he's a bit too old now. Hopefully they can find someone of equal calibre to really do it justice.


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