Is there any draw to revisiting Red October in a contemporary setting?
Mace Neufeld: No discussion at all.
David Barron: The focus has been very much on getting a script to the point where we all felt confident that it’s a film we should make. And then going ahead and making, and delivering it to a standard that will make everybody happy. We hope.
Mace Neufeld: Remember, we’re talking about a release date that’s a year from this December. But we won’t know, we think we’re making a really good movie, but we won’t know how successful it is till 2014. So a lot can happen between now and then.
David Barron: We will finish the film considerably in advance of the release date. So I’m sure that some discussion will take place between the finishing and the opening as to whether or not we move forward.
Are you guys associated with Without Remorse, the Jack Clark story?
David Barron: We’re completely independent.
Is there a plan for these films to collide?
David Barron: Who knows? Until we know whether a) that their film gets made, and b) when both films have been made and the releases are successful enough to warrant further development, which might or might not include cross-pollination.
We’ve never really seen something like that.
David Barron: No, it’s true. But I’m sure there’s a great opportunity there. If we do make two successful films and end up with characters that people want to further the journey with, then I’m sure there’s great opportunity and hopefully we’ll be around to be involved in it.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re shooting today and why we’re here?
David Barron: Most people think of Moscow, or Russia, as being St. Petersburg and classic imperial architecture, which there is quite a lot of in Moscow, but there’s also a brand new financial center, which makes it not generic, but not the traditional Russian architecture you’d expect to see and it is something you can see in many place throughout the world. These big trading floors all have the same sort of infrastructure and they’re all building new buildings. There’s a big, well biggish, new financial center in Moscow that’s still under construction, and it’s very similar to what we have here.
A Russian actress, Lana, who’s playing Ketchya in the film, she said, when she came here for the first time today, “Wow, this could be Moscow.” Which is a great validation of our location choice.
You guy are shooting with film. Was there a big debate about film versus digital?
David Barron: Yes there was. We’re actually using both. About 20% digital and 80% film, mixing the two. Because Haris Zambarloukos, our DP, is a great lover of film, and he doesn’t think there’s anything you can do digitally that you can’t do with film. When we shot in Moscow, New York and Liverpool, Moscow and Liverpool in particular were a lot of night shooting, and a lot of cars driving through streets. And Haris contests, and I’ve never actually put him to the test so I have to believe him, though I can’t vouch for it myself, is you can go and shoot pretty much available light in a city setting at night on film, if you use the high speed stocks, but what you get with a digital camera, what we used, the Red, is you’re able to see on the monitor what you’re shooting with film. With film, by the time you’ve used a video tap, that splits the light going to the film playing and to the eye piece and the monitor, if it’s low light level, you can’t really see if it’s in focus, if you do an extended cam shot you have no idea, really, whether it’s in focus. And you’re going back to the old pre-video days of having to trust in your technicians and you’ll see tomorrow if it’s in focus or not.
So with the Red camera, it was quick and portable, and you can record on high quality cards, rather than have the whole big system that comes with the Alexa Raw.
Mace Neufeld: You don’t have to wait for the call from the lab saying “we had a problem yesterday.” We used very few lights in Liverpool. The natural lighting looked great.
So all the filming that you did in New York City, Moscow, Liverpool, was done with the Red?
David Barron: Yes.
And all the stuff here in London…
David Barron/Mace Neufeld: Film.
So what other locations are you shooting at?
David Barron: Just London. A fair amount of studio. We used stages at Euston. I’ve been back home to the newly rebuilt Euston, which is very nice, familiar but unfamiliar in its new form. And we’ve got the stages at Pinewood.
Question: Is the stage stuff completely done?
David Barron: We go back on Wednesday and into Pinewood the week after that.
Question: Mace, you have a long history with the character Jack Ryan, how did that begin?
Mace Neufeld: It began when I optioned The Hunt for Red October in 1985.
Question: What drew you to that?
Mace Neufeld: The book! It had been on my night table for about a month. A young development executive who was working for me had found it at the Dallas Book Fair. It was published by the Naval Institute Press, it was the first book of fiction they had published. And he said, you have to read this. And I said, “OK,” and there it was, and then one evening I picked it up and five hours later I put it down and said, “we have to option this.” At that time it was not a best seller yet, and Tom Clancy was not a full-time author. He had a very successful insurance business. But he had a lot of clients who were civil servants, who were the CIA, who were the Navy, so he knew a lot. And I thought this was a terrific story. Men under pressure in confined spaces always makes for good drama.
David Barron: Sounds like being home.
Question: Kevin was telling us that he was offered Red October and couldn’t do it. What do you remember about that?
MACE NEUFELD: Well I had done No Way Out with Kevin. And I had optioned the book, and I don’t remember the dates, but I called JJ Harris, who was, and still is, Kevin’s agent. And I got Kevin on the phone, and he was shooting a film in Mexico, and I asked him if he wanted to play Jack Ryan. And he said he was really occupied with trying to develop another script, a western. And I said, “Well, do you have financing for it?” He said, “No, but I think some people will come.” And I said, “Well, I’ll help you with the financing.” And he said, “Thank you, but I don’t think I’ll need that.” And that was Dances With Wolves. So he made the right decision. And then Red October became a Bestseller, because it was described at that point in Time Magazine as being President Reagan’s favorite yarn. So we took it from there.
Question: In my opinion, the best transition for subtitles is in Red October, when you zoom in on the mouth and all of the sudden they’re talking English, is there a chance you’ll do that in this film?
Mace Neufeld: You have to discuss that with Kenneth. But actually, it was done before us in a film called The Man in the Glass Booth which was about the trial of Eichman in Israel. We used the device again in Clear and Present Danger when Escobar was hitting a baseball and talking in Spanish, and he hit the ball and you came back and he was talking in English.
Question: What kind of questions has Chris been asking you, as someone who’s been involved with Jack Ryan the longest? Are you really just saying figure it out yourself?
Mace Neufeld: No, go with God.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens in theaters on January 17, 2013.