Exclusive : Beattie on Without Remorse

I’ve spoken enough about my love of everything Tom Clancy on the site so I’ll spare my fingers the blistering, and you guys the trouble, of gushing like a conked out drainpipe again – but let me just say, I’d give my right one to see “Without Remorse” hump a cream screen.

And so would Stuart Beattie.

Paramount were going to do it a few years back, with John Singleton attached to direct and Joaquin Phoenix onboard as John Clark (or so it was rumoured), but it fell through- as all non-sequel-2D films seem to have. Beattie, of “Collateral” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame, had written the libretto.

I caught up with Beattie today at the “Tomorrow When the War Began” – his directorial debut, opening next month in Australia- junket where we discussed his script, where the project stands right now, and his interest in directing the long-gestating actioner.

“I’ve read every Tom Clancy book. Love Tom Clancy. I think Without Remorse is the best book. I’ve always loved it. It’s great. And it was actually pitched to me; I went in to Paramount and they offered me two things – one that I wasn’t that keen on, and then Without Remose. I was like, ‘Without Remorse!? Are you kidding me!?’ I jumped all over that one”.

Beattie says “Without Remorse” was “the hardest adaptation I’ve ever done. It’s a 700 page book with stories that run consecutively but haven’t nothing to do with each other – until page 699. You can’t do that in a movie, so to make that work, and to make it modern-day, I hard to work hard. I loved it so much that I didn’t want to ruin it…. But I think we got it [right], it’s just a question of when it will happen.”

Beattie says “Without Remorse” is the film he’s chasing next. Yep, he wants to direct it.

“I’ll be chasing it after [Tomorrow When The World Began] – for sure”, he says matter-of-factly. “I would love to direct it. That’s actually what I’d like to do now – direct some of these scripts that are waiting for filmmakers to do them. The big secret in Hollywood is that nobody wants to make another person’s movie – they want to make their movie.”

And who would make a good John Clark?

“I was thinking someone along the lines of Josh Hartnett”, Beattie says. “That was several years ago now, but I still think he’s cool.”

Beattie says Clark would be such a great character for an actor in his twenties.

“Such a great character. Such a terrific story – he brings this woman back from the brink, falls in love with her….it’s the first time he’s allowed himself to feel… and then there’s guys come and just…oh god, it’s just great”, says the writer. “It’s basically what would happen if a trained Navy SEAL took on the drug trade. It’s in the book, but I wrote this amazing sequence, set over one night, where Clark goes after all the drug trade in one neighbourhood…he just goes nuts…kills everybody. What a cool sequence that would be – would be awesome if we could do it all in one shot.”

Beattie also briefly discussed the postponed film version of “Spy Hunter” which, before it’s impediment, had Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson attached to star. If his name means anything as a director after “Tomorrow When the War Began” is released, Beattie wouldn’t mind a shot at helming it.

“I was about the third or fourth writer on that – it was at Universal, now it’s at Warner Bros. But that is a cool project – it’s such a cool character,  [it would be] such a visually dazzling piece and that car is just awesome”.

Beattie says, “it has to be “Dwayne Johnson as Alec Sects, “it has to be him – and his statue is rising and rising and rising. I think it’s a point of : his statue needs to rise a little more, and if I’m going to make it, then my statue has to rise a lot more, and if we can find that happy medium sometime in the next five years I say ‘let’s do it’.”

Much like “Without Remorse” and “Tomorrow the World Begun”, Beattie was a big fan of the source material – in this case, the “Spy Hunter” video game (which first surfaced in the ’80s).

“I was a big fan as a kid”, Beattie says, “Whenever you take on these types of properties you have to love it. If you don’t, the fans will eat you alive – they’ll see that you’re just hashing it out.

“You’ve got to love the source material and in this case, I spent sooo many hours of my life playing that game… now I like to think that I didn’t actually waste those hours – it was actually research”, he laughs.

(Beattie and I also discussed the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise. You will never believe whom Stuart Beattie had in mind for the lead role of Jack Sparrow though? “I called him Jack Sparrow so we could get Hugh Jackman.”)

In related news, you’ll recall a year or two back Latino Review spilling the beans on Beattie’s “Halo” spec script – and the two sequels he’d outlined. In fairly great detail, El Mayimbe spoke about what each film in the proposed chapter would potentially entail :

The script is, first and foremost, a character-driven story about a soldier named John who was kidnapped or “conscripted” by the UNSC when he was just six years old, and then brutally trained to become an elite Spartan warrior known as Master Chief 117.

The script then takes us through the horrific first contact with the Covenant hordes on the doomed colony world of Harvest, and then climaxes with the spectacular fall of the UNSC forward base on Reach, during which every other Spartan is slaughtered.

The script also gives detailed outlines for the second movie, HALO: RISE OF THE FLOOD, which takes place entirely on the Halo ringworld, and the third and final movie, HALO: BATTLE FOR EARTH, which roughly follows the events of Halo 3, the game.

Though they raised an eyebrow to the project when Neil Blomkamp and Guillermo del Toro attached themselves to the project, as director and producer respectively, Microsoft ultimately canceled the plans for the film.

WatchOutFor got an update on the three films – “Halo:”, “Halo : Rise of the Flood” and “Halo : Battle for Earth” – today, and sadly, seems they’re still no further to making it before the lens.

“It’s Microsoft, they own the world anyway, why would they need to risk one of their prize products on a movie of all things?” he joked.

“[The problem is] You can’t make Halo for $25M. I mean, it’s aliens and spaceships and different worlds and planets – futuristic settings” Beattie said. “Halo is the game that started it all for me and my gaming, I’ve broken several Xbox’s with Halo”.

Think of all those wasted Remington ribbons…