Well, do those stories exist in the universe that you are setting up, or is this a new Jack Ryan universe separated from the books?
Lorenzo di Bonaventura: Um, first, Hunt for Red October is one of my favorite films, so the idea of trying to redo that is, just, I don’t know. That’s an honest answer.
All of them have a very specific political moment in time. I suppose you could do a Clear and Present Danger associated with Mexico pretty easily right now, couldn’t you?
I haven’t really thought about it, honestly. We’ve just been so focused on making this movie work. A lot o them also play with the Soviet Union, and that… I don’t think you want to make a period version of this character. But I can’t rule it out.
Do you bristle at the term reboot, or is that an accurate description?
I understand why people are saying that’s what it is, but Chris Pine is so different than Harrison and Alec. It is Jack Ryan in the sense that he’s the every man, the sense of intelligence, the sense of physical capabilities without being Superman. I guess in that sense it’s a reboot in that we recognize all of those things. But Chris is so different and has a very different color as a result of that.
What made you choose Chris for the role?
It was actually Paramount’s idea. After Star Trek, they had the advantage of seeing all the dailies we had not seen. So they started calling Mace and I and saying, “What about Chris?”
He’s an amazing actor. And it’s great to have that ability. As a person in real life, he’s a very thoughtful guy. He’s great or Jack Ryan, because you can really feel the wheels turning, and there’s really something in the wheels.
I think that’s one of my favorite things about Jack Ryan. He’s always the guy in the room who’s not afraid to say the thing that everyone else is either thinking or is too afraid to say. He’s the one who’ll raise his hand and say, “You know, I’m not so sure.” I think Chris is that sort of person. He’s handsome, but as an individual, he’s got a big brain and it’s great for the character.
You mentioned the roller-coaster action. What can you tell us about that in this film?
Well, I always looked at these movies as half action, half thriller. We’ve stayed to that notion. Someone is directly in jeopardy. As you know, I have nothing against explosions, but [characters] are not running through fields of explosions.
The hardest thing to do about this type of action is that you have to feel like you’re utterly in the guy’s shoes, or it doesn’t work. It’s so much about the emotional state. It’s not about the whiz-bang of it. You want to do the whiz-bang, but you can’t do it without being solidly inside the character. That makes it personal and emotional, which is different from other action movies.
This isn’t adapted from a specific Clancy book. How have you been going about compiling information without a specific book to reference?
We have been going over every novel, gleaning every bit of back-story information that we could. And we put every bit in. In a funny way, more than any of the other movies, we were relying on… because they all had very good plots and specific character agendas. Because we didn’t have that, we were able to take all of the ideas and then design a movie around all of the backstory as opposed to a specific part of it. So if you’re a Clancy fan, you’re going to go, “Oh my God, that? Do you remember that?” We’re able to do all that because the movie has been designed around the origin as opposed to the character being part of the plot.
You mentioned Chris Pine’s role in Star Trek. Will it ever be viewed as a complication that he’s also Captain Kirk?
I think it could be a complication in certain circumstances, but again, they are so different. This is so “present day” and that is so “futuristic” that I don’t think we’ll have that problem. I think trying to be another spy might not be the best thing. He’s not the best choice to play Jason Bourne in a reboot. But I think the audience, in general, is relating to familiarity, so I think it serves somebody to have someone who the audience has invested a lot. We benefit because people have invested in him as Kirk.
Where does Kevin Costner’s character fit into all of this?
He’s not that traditional character of mentor. He’s a guy of action, too. He’s a field agent. He’s a little more senior. He carries more experience. But we’ve seen a lot of movies with the older mentor and the younger agent, and this movie doesn’t do that. He’s in the field with Jack. When things go wrong, he gets thrust into the middle. It creates a different relationship between the two men. It’s also the movie where they are meeting. He couldn’t be a mentor because they first meet. It’s the first movie where they get a sense that they are working together, and there’s a relationship tied to, “What are we going to do here?”
And Kevin, carrying all of the heroism that he has done in his career… often, the mentor character feels like the arm-chair guy. Kevin can’t feel that way. We put him out in the field so that he’s not sitting in the arm chair. He’s just not that guy. We also get two generations of stars, as a result. It gives the movie a nice sense of energy, as well.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opens in theaters on January 17, 2014.