Exclusive : Raimi talks Jack Ryan

Variety announced this morning that Paramount and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura are anxiously awaiting the first draft of the “Untitled Tom Clancy Project” from screenwriter Hossein Amini (”Jude”, ”Killshot”) – and yes, George Clooney’s still expressing interest in playing Jack Ryan.

Just over twelve months ago, it was announced that “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi was looking to follow in John McTiernan, Phil Noyce & Phil Alden Robinson’s footsteps and develop a chapter (or two) in the Jack Ryan franchise. Unfortunately, it never got beyond the discussion stage, largely because of Raimi’s commitment to the web-slinger.

“I was chasing [that gig] because I love that character so much”, the filmmaker says of the Tom Clancy-created CIA analyst character last seen in 2002’s “The Sum of All Fears”. “I really wanted to treat him seriously and deliver a grade-A Tom Clancy thriller. But then they wanted to make Spider-Man 4, so I couldn’t make it.

“But I love those movies, I still have [the first films – The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger] on video-tape actually. I loved [Alec] Baldwin and Harrison Ford. Those films are so consistently well-made – I liked them better than some of the James Bond movies.”

But “Spider-Man 4″, says Raimi, was just an offer too good to refuse.

‘’I love the character – I love Spider-man, but I really love Peter Parker. I think I can do a good job, if not a better job, than I’ve done before. I really feel like I know the character in a way I haven’t been able to put on film just yet”

Raimi, who requested “a lot of creative control” on the new sequel, says he’s currently “working with the writer and trying to get the script in shape, talking about casting and the visual effects and the story. We start shooting in February next year”.

Raimi said he’d love to see some other Marvel characters introduced into the “Spider-Man” universe at some stage – Frank Castle/The Punisher being one – but believes there’d be too much red-tape to unstick to get it done.