Chris Pine has become Paramount Pictures’ go-to man for action franchises. The actor has taken to the stars as Captain James T. Kirk in J.J Abrams’ Star Trek movies and now he is set to slip-into the suit of Jack Ryan, the popular character created by late novelist Tom Clancy in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. Pine follows in the (not insignificant) footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck to bring the earnest CIA analyst to the screen in Kenneth Branagh’s franchise reboot.
Screen Rant met with Pine on the film’s London set, where he discussed what it was like taking on such an iconic role, and also how he wants to bring something different to the character which has been played by such well known actors. Chris Pine exudes and all-American charm, which is perfect to play a younger (and less wise) Jack Ryan in a movie which Paramount hopes will launch a whole new set of Ryan adventures.
We were just talking with Kevin Costner and he was telling us about the challenges about playing the Everyman hero, of playing the Gary Cooper role, the challenges that people just might not get. What challenges are you feeling?
Hmmm… That’s a good question. You know, with Bourne, for instance, Bourne has his body. He’s physically very adept at kicking ass. And Bond looks great doing it and he’s kinda brooding and complicated but he wears a suit well and he drives great cars. I think you’re right in say that… I think the challenge with Jack is how do you make dynamic his smarts? His weapon is his brain. He thinks and moves with his mind faster than other people. I think with the kind of Clancy world and the Clancy plots, oftentimes kinda the lead of the story is the story itself. Even with like Hunt for Red October, I thought the plot with Connery with even more fascinating than any one of the particular characters and I think with the Ryan character, the challenge is to… You have to excitingly move the plot forward. So maybe the challenge is… you can’t rely on anything in particular and you kinda just have to let the thinking do the work, I guess. I think with this film we tried to give him a substantive enough background and backstory so that we understand why he moves and thinks the way that he does and why that is appealing to him and why perhaps in this particular circumstance, he doesn’t initially… maybe is hesitant to jump right into the story. Anyway, this is a long-winded answer. I don’t really have an answer for you, but maybe there’s something in it.
We know kinda the man that Jack Ryan becomes from the previous films and all the books. Can you use that as a reference for playing the young version? Or because he doesn’t know exactly what kind of man he’ll become, do you really have to start from Square One?
I love the stories that have come before that we know of. I think, for me it’s always more interesting to kinda start from square one and you take the kinda fundamental pillars of the character and, around that, try to create something new and different. Just like with Kirk, for instance, I can’t do what came before and who these other guys are as Jack Ryan and kinda only do my version of it, but there are certain things that are kinda fundamental to Jack. Like I remember in Clear and Present Danger, I always love the fact that it was… Anne Archer who’s driving the Porsche and he’s driving the VW Bug. He’s kinda frumpy and she’s kinda the wunderkind doctor. I like that about Jack, that he’s more comfortable in his study. He’s comfortable with his books. He’s more comfortable putting a puzzle together. He’d rather spend a Sunday at home than go out. He’s a homebody. There’s a comfort in isolation, but there’s a really intense confidence in his own abilities to figure stuff out and to work through things in his own mind. So it’s balancing that kind of Everyman with the thoughtfulness and the ability to be by himself and the comfort in isolation and then also that kind of intense confidence in his own abilities. And above and beyond that, you kinda wrap it around and create something.
Now that “Trek” is a franchise and this is obviously what Paramount hopes to be another franchise, was there a lot of hesitation to sign on to something that could be bouncing back and forth between two different franchises?
There is a lot of time involved in it and nowadays especially, too, just with publicity, you have an incredible time making the film and then there’s an incredible responsibility to go out and to sell the film to the world. And especially because I’m not an actor commodity yet — People don’t really know me other than Kirk — there’s a responsibility to kinda introduce myself to the world, so there is a lot of time spent on that. But I’ve been very fortunate that I think the two franchises that I’m involved in, I really like the characters, I like the world, so I certainly want to do things outside of these two things, but for the time being, I’m very happy with the work that I’ve been given. But certainly, I’m 32 now and a minute ago I was 27 doing the first “Trek,” so it’s like, “There are other things in my word besides Jack Ryan and James Kirk,” but um… yeah.
Next Page: Chris Pine Talks Jack Ryan Sequels
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens in theaters on January 17, 2014.