Kenneth Branagh Directing & Starring[/caption]
I’m curious about doing scenes with Ken when he’s both acting and directing.
Chris Pine: I have yet to do it. We’ve yet to work together. I’ve worked Keira quite a bit and Kevin. What I would say about Ken is that he’s incredibly, incredibly focused. I was talking to Lorenzo about this earlier, but Tony [Scott] was very much like this, I guess, but Ken, I guess even more-so, is very specific about what he wants. We don’t spend much time… There’s maybe three takes and then we’re moving on. Oftentimes there’s one. He knows what he wants, how he wants it and that’s not say that he’s not open to collaboration, but he’s not shy from, if we get it in one, we’ll move on. And in those scenes where it demands some colors and really getting to the core of it, he’ll stay with it. And what I love about his set too, and it’s probably because he’s an actor directing actors, is that there’s actor-focus and a lot of times with big films, I think because there’s so much responsibility elsewhere in the film, what with CG or effects or the visuals of it, he’s very happy to kinda sit in a scene and talk with the actors. He’ll oftentimes stand right next to the camera and watch us work, which is great. He’s not hidden in video village all the time, which sometimes can happen. So I appreciate that.
Can you tell us what’s going on today? What’s happening?
What’s fun about this movie is that it’s very Three Days of the Condor, very kinda All the President’s Men. Again, it’s a puzzle. There are little tendon pieces to create the plot, so it’s a ostensibly very small scene… I don’t want to give too much away. What can say about this? S***’s gone awry. S***’s hit the fan. Jack’s trying to cover that that s***’s hit the fan and he’s working very fast to figure things out. But anyway… A more interesting answer, maybe, is that it’s just these fun little pieces. Our movie may not have the biggest set-pieces in the world. It’s not Star Trek, in that there’s an incredible amount of visuals, although Harris is shooting this incredibly well — visually, it’s very very stunning, even some of the shots in there, just the geometry of the building itself I think… it’s really beautiful — it’s a thriller, it’s a plot thriller. It’s kinda building up tension piece-by-piece, moment-by-moment and I look forward to seeing what it turns out to be, because I know a lot of it will happen afterwards in the editing process.
We’ve been hearing about how intelligent the character is and how it has to do with finances and global economies. He seems like has to be an accessible character so that the audience can understand him. Are you working to make him that way and how are you really doing that?
First of all, we can’t have a plot that is inaccessible. People have to understand what’s going on, so I think our plot is interesting and kind apropos to what’s happening in the world, but not overly convoluted so people will spending time figuring out what’s going on. Jack’s experience is an experience that many people share. I don’t share it. I don’t know if anybody here has. He’s been to war. He’s seen war and it’s affected a lot of people and I don’t think we take that lightly in the film and how that traumatized him and how that kinda pushed him in a different direction in his life. And also, he shares what we all share, which is 9/11, which is going through a major turning point. It’s Pearl Harbor for another generation. So what is it like to live in that world after such an effect. Even though he is smart and he is going to save the world, he’s got a lady in his life and he’s got a lot of troubles with that relationship and he’s trying to figure that out and they’re trying to work on their communication skills. It’s a lot of very kinda accessible, human stuff that we all deal with, I’m sure.
Where do you see Jack Ryan going, either by the time this film ends, has he changed from the very beginning? Can you see another chapter beginning if there is a sequel to this?
I haven’t spent much time thinking about where the story could go. Obviously in the series, he becomes president and has many stories to be told from that perspective, but off what I’ve seen in characters that are like the genesis of and the birthing of the character story — Kirk and here — is characters, they can get comfortable with what their responsibility in this world is and I think Jack is younger in this and he’s figuring out what his best place in this world is. He has a need to serve and that is the Jack Ryan character. That is the Clancy character is this kind of patriot. I personally had issues of the idea of “patriot,” but what I do connect to is a man that wants to be selfless and he sees something happen that is so devastating and he gets outside of himself and feels the need to serve, but in doing that, there are many, many real, awful complications to that and many, many real things that can affect a relationship with a woman that he loves. So I think by the end of the film, I think he gets to a place where he, strangely given the events of the film, has found more stability with the lady in his life and more comfort in what he’s doing for his country.
[Pointing to his splint on his hand.] I wanted to know what happened there.
I broke my finger in a stunt in a very not-too-romantic way. I was just trying to tackle someone and I just flicked his forearm and then screamed in pain.
You’re talking to the press. If you want to make the story more exciting…
I’m an actor, but I am an awful liar.
Kevin’s a fascinating guy and he really knows a lot about the business, inside and out, and he really had some interesting things to say about being a lead actor. Have you had a chance to talk to him and get a lot of stories?
Yeah. Kevin and I, I think, really hit it off. I love any chance to talk… Here’s a guy who the top movie star in the world for a long time and he’s got great advice. I love watching him in a close-up. For someone who’s done it for so long, there’s just such a comfort in the knowledge of what he’s able to do and how to do it and how to sell a moment and just a comfort in front of the camera. Look, with a close-up and the camera’s right there and it’s a 15-hour-day and it’s all about you, sometimes it’s not the best feeling to have in the world, that kind of responsibility. But man, he’s a cool cat. He’s just a really knowledgeable guy and he’s got his hands in so many different things. He’s writing all the time and the way he talks to Ken about a shot or how that’s going to move into the next sequence, I love listening to it, because watching my director, who’s, you know, Kenneth Branagh, and then I’m watching my fellow actor, who’s Kevin Costner, and I’m learning an incredible amount just by kinda being there.
More: Director Kenneth Branagh Interview
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens in theaters on January 17, 2014.