Producer Mace Neufeld (“The Hunt for Red October”, “Invictus”) spoke to Moviehole this week about the long-gestating Clancy-less Jack Ryan movie – which Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) is now set to headline – that he’s developing for Paramount. We ask Neufeld whether or not Phil Noyce, who helmed “Patriot Games” and “Clear and Present Danger”, might return as director; whether he’s spoken to Tom Clancy about the project; and whether the new film will be an origin tale or pick-up where the last film, “The Sum Of All Fears”, left off.
Let me ask you about that franchise. The last attempt at rebooting the franchise met with a lot of critical derision. I actually really liked “The Sum of All Fears”, actually, a lot, myself. But I know that it got a very mixed response. A lot of critics really did not like Ben’s portrayal of the character, or his performance. And I’m just wondering, what are the pitfalls to rejuvenate that franchise, and do so with an original script? Which is what I understand you guys are thinking of doing.
Well, yes. We’ve run out of books. Actually, the last film did very well, we did – I think $123 million domestically. They made a lot of money. on it and on the previous three. They want to reboot that franchise because it’ll invigorate The Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, Patriot Games, Sum of All Fears, so they can come out and repackage those together. So Jack Ryan’s a great character.
Now have you had any discussions at all with Clancy himself about story ideas?
No, I haven’t.
Do you know how he feels about this idea?
No, I have no idea. My discussions have been with Paramount.
And at what point within the cycle would you hope to – in terms of the timeline – would the franchise be rebooted from preceding Sum of All Fears? Would you use that as a point of renewal? Or would you establish the character already as an analyst?
No. We’ve established him on Wall Street. And then he becomes CIA.
What about directors?
We have not set a director yet.
How is the hunt for a director coming?
Well, we’re not hunting at the moment, yet. We’re getting a screenplay after the first of the year.
Have you spoken to Phil at all about him coming back? Or has he basically said he doesn’t want to do that?
Well, we talked about it. Right now, he’s busy with finishing up Salt.
Obviously these movies have varied in cost over the years. Given the financial crisis, are movies more expensive? Or are you and the studio really trying to make an effort to keep costs down?
We always try and make an effort to keep costs down, yeah. The most expensive was the last one. But – certainly they were not – exorbitantly expensive. And we don’t expect this one to be, either.
What are going to be the difficulties for you in casting Jack Ryan?
Yeah. Well, it’s been published. We’re in negotiations with Chris Pine.
I never know if these things are true.
No, that’s true. Yeah.
Now are you prepared to embark on the political Oscar campaign that Invictus is obviously going to be a part of? And nothing else coming up?
Always. That’s a part of my job. As far as my next one – you know, I’d love to go Ryan though I have other things in development. But you never know.