Paramount is all set to reboot Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan franchise with star Chris Pine, but the studio is also looking to bring in another famous Clancy character to the big screen: CIA officer John Kelly (A.K.A. John Clark).
According to a new report, Paramount is in negotiations with writer Christopher McQuarrie to draft a new adaptation of Tom Clancy’s novel Without Remorse, which has been in active development since 2010 (and was first optioned in Hollywood way back in 1993). McQuarrie is also being considered to direct the film.
Deadline has the scoop that McQuarrie was being approached for the film, and also reports that Paramount is potentially planning to build a shared movie universe (a la Marvel Studios) with the untitled Jack Ryan reboot and Without Remorse featuring the same characters.
Fans of Clancy’s novels will recall that Clark is one of the author’s grittiest characters. For those unacquainted with Without Remorse, here’s a synopsis of the novel (via TomClancy.com):
John Kelly, former Navy SEAL and Vietnam veteran, is still getting over the accidental death of his wife six months before, when he befriends a young woman with a decidedly checkered past. When that past reaches out for her in a particularly horrifying fashion, he vows revenge and, assembling all of his old skills, sets out to track down the men responsible, before it can happen again.
At the same time, the Pentagon is readying an operation to rescue a key group of prisoners in a North Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camp. One man, they find, knows the terrain around the camp better than anyone else they have: a certain former Navy SEAL named John Kelly.
Kelly has his own mission. The Pentagon wants him for theirs. Attempting to juggle the two, Kelly (now code-named Mr. Clark) finds himself confronted by a vast array of enemies, both at home and abroad — men so skillful that the slightest misstep means death. And the fate of dozens of people, including Kelly himself, rests on his making sure that misstep never happens.
The character of John Clark has appeared on the big screen twice before. He was first played by Willem Dafoe in the 1994 film Clear and Present Danger and then by Liev Schreiber in the 2002 film The Sum of All Fears. Because both of those films focused on Jack Ryan’s character, they didn’t delve deeply into Clark’s violent past.
If Paramount does eventually plan to set the the two Clancy films in the same cinematic universe, the likely connection will be the character that Kevin Costner is currently considering for the Jack Ryan movie (who is described as Jack Ryan’s mentor). It’s easy to imagine Costner appearing at the end of Without Remorse (like Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury in the Marvel films) to recruit Clark into the CIA alongside Jack Ryan, with the next movie perhaps pairing the two characters in action.