Kenneth Branagh Casts Himself As the Villain In His ‘Jack Ryan’ Reboot

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 8th, 2012 at 9:44 am,

kenneth branagh jack ryan villain Kenneth Branagh Casts Himself As the Villain In His Jack Ryan Reboot

Progress on Paramount’s planned start-over of the Jack Ryan franchise has been slow-going, thanks to rewrites, production stalls, and budget concerns. That resulted in onetime director Jack Bender leaving the project earlier this year, only to be quickly replaced by five-time Oscar-nominated actor/filmmaker Kenneth Branagh (some of you may know him better as the director of Thor).

Tom Clancy’s CIA agent was previously portrayed onscreen by Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger), and Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears). The Jack Ryan mantle is being picked up by Chris Pine for Branagh’s film, which marks the second time Pine has signed on to portray a rebooted version of an iconic character (after Captain Kirk in Star Trek, of course).

Branagh’s one of the rare actor/filmmakers who’s as revered for his performance chops as he is for his behind-the-camera talents, having directed himself to Oscar-nominated turns in Shakespearean productions like Henry V and Hamlet. He’s also done commendable work when collaborating with such directors as Woody Allen (Celebrity), Bryan Singer (Valkyrie), and Simon Curtis (My Week with Marilyn) – we’ll forgive him for his role in Wild Wild West – and that’s part of the reason why Branagh has decided to cast… well, himself as the villain in his Jack Ryan reboot.

Heat Vision has the scoop on Branagh being in negotiations to play the antagonist in his own film (who wants to bet he’ll work out a deal?). The central villain role in the Jack Ryan reboot is that of Viktor Stazov, described as a “financial wiz who, with the help of the Russian government, masterminds a plot to devalue American currency and thus destroy the U.S. economy.” [We'll skip over any jokes about the current state of the U.S. economy.]

chris pine jack ryan Kenneth Branagh Casts Himself As the Villain In His Jack Ryan Reboot

Chris Pine is the new Jack Ryan

The Jack Ryan reboot explores the character’s backstory, prior to his days working for the CIA (when he started off as a financial analyst). Hence, it has an advantage over, say, superhero franchise reboots like Amazing Spider-Man or next year’s Man of Steel, as most people aren’t so familiar with the “origins” of Ryan. Moreover, it’s only partially based on Clancy’s literature – and draws heavily from Adam Cozen’s Blacklisted script Dubai – which moves it closer to being an original creation than something like this fall’s Alex Cross reboot.

Couple that with Branagh pulling double-duty as actor and director, and this new Jack Ryan movie starts to sound more promising than it did just a year ago. If all goes according to plan, this could also be the film that firmly establishes Pine as a bankable player (outside of when he’s wearing a Starfleet uniform, that is).

We’ll keep you updated on the Jack Ryan reboot as more information is released.


Source: THR

TAGS: Jack ryan
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  1. “Heat Vision has the scoop on Branagh being in negotiations to play the antagonist in his own film”

    It’ll be awesome if he turns the role down and he becomes mad at himself for not taking the role and he has a fallout with himself and never casts himself in his films ever again…

    • lol

  2. Always preferred Baldwin’s portrayal of Ryan initially, I like Ford but never really took to his portrayal of the character. Affleck wasn’t a bad choice for the part, had a similar feel to Baldwin’s take, being the analyst who is having to become a man of action.

    I don’t know about Pine as Ryan, he’s pretty much an action actor, but that could just be me projecting what I’ve seen of him so far onto the character.

    You need someone whose a little unassuming but then doesn’t look stupid when they do start to kick-ass. Which is probably what I didn’t like about Ford’s take, he looked unassuming even when he was kicking-ass which to me is like Superman acting like Clark Kent when he’s supposed to be Superman, if you get my gist.

    I know he’s been in a few films lately but Joseph Gordon-Levitt I think would make a good Ryan, saw him last night in TDKR, that with his part in Inception, I think he’d be a great Ryan.

  3. Never really got into the Jack Ryan films. I only watched patriot games and clear and present danger because they had harrison ford in them. and i figured i should check out sum of all fears. still havent seen the hunt for red october. all that being said they were all ok films so i will probably check out the new one.

  4. Brilliant casting on Kenneth Branagh’s part.
    Now with Branagh at the helm and starring too
    only good and potentially great things will happen.
    This Ryan reboot could not be in more talented hands.

    Kenneth Branagh can do no wrong in my book.
    His Henry V had a profound and lasting effect
    remaining near the top of my all-time favorites.

    There is a young Mr. Wayne in this band of brothers:

    • I agree with your sentiment, Robert!

      Though I admire Branagh greatly, I must admit not everything he’s touched has been golden, even if you pretend Wild Wild West didn’t happen.

      But Kenneth is a major talent on the level of an Orson Welles or Alfred Hitchcock so here’s hoping he knocks another out of the park.

      • Yes, Sharpe, Kenneth is a major talent and with multiple talents.

        I too think his career has been side-tracked somewhat and sometimes
        for reasons beyond his control, as with Welles you have to have
        interested studios and willing investors and in that sense
        Kenneth is a man out of time for these times.

        Branagh is still young enough to achieve his promise
        and I’ll be their routing for his success all the way.

        • *rooting

        • “Kenneth is a major talent and with multiple talents.”

          Wow Robert, I’m flattered you think of me this way…

          “Branagh is still young enough to achieve his promise
          and I’ll be their routing for his success all the way.”

          Oh, you’re talking about THAT Kenneth… :’(


          • Ha Ha Ha…Very good one, Kenneth, aka Ken J :D

            I am sure you’re young enough too to achieve your
            promise and I’ll be their rooting for your success too.

            • ;-)

  5. The plot kind of sounds like Clancy’s novel Debt of Honor. Which has the Japanese instead of the Russians as the antagonists.

  6. Also the should remake Patriot Games if they’re starting with Ryan’s origin because I believe that is chronologically the first Ryan novel.


  7. Unless you count the cameo he had in Clancy’s Without Remorse. Which is also a good read and Hollywood should consider doing that as a series with Clancy’s other hero John Clark.

  8. The problem with the later Jack Ryan novels is that as he rises in power, he does less and less physically. He mostly makes decisions and reacts to the situation. The action is mostly done by John Clark, Domingo Chavez and Rainbow Six. I didn’t even like how in Clear and Present Danger, Ryan’s role was given more action. I still think that was Clancy’s best novel. It was still involving a fairly plausible plot and brought up real, and timely, issues with regard to how a government can go. The next novels, like Sum of All Fears, Debt of Honor, The Bear and the Dragon, just ratchet up the ridiculousness factor. It’s no wonder he stepped back with Red Rabbit to cover a Ryan story that was in between Patriot Games and Red October. And after that, he used Jack Ryan, Jr. as his protagonist.

  9. I want to see the Executive Order book turned into a movie.

  10. Kenneth branagh casts himself in lead rolls in p much every movie/show he directs
    why are people suprised