Beattie off, Ryan on Without Remorse

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A few weeks back Stuart Beattie gave us a bit of an update on “Without Remorse”, the feature film adaptation of the Tom Clancy novel he’d written. According to the Australian writer cum director (his directorial debut “Tomorrow When The War Began” did super well down under), who had hoped he might have gotten a chance to direct said film (but as far as I could gather he was only interested in directing “his” script), another writer had been recently been hired to work on the film. Sad, since Beattie worked his ass off on the script, noting that it was probably the most difficult job he’d taken on (see below). By all accounts, Beattie had done a bang-up job, too! So who is the replacement scribe? “Shield” creator Shawn Ryan.

Yep, can’t hate on that too much – Ryan is aces.

Vulture says Ryan will likely work with/for producers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman on the project with David Ellison’s Skydance productions picking up the tab.  As for who will direct the movie? Well, you’ve got to wonder, what with “Trek” scribes Orci and Kurtzman onboard and “Mission : Impossible 4″ financer Ellison involved, whether J.J Abrams might be asked? Just me thinking out aloud..

Whatever the case, sounds like “Without Remorse” goes on Without Beattie.

Paramount, having just lost the “Avengers” and “Iron Man 3″ to Disney, are going to be after some more franchises they can pimp.. and swiftly. I’d expect “Without Remorse” to get up pretty quickly and wouldn’t at all be surprised to hear that “Beverly Hills Cop 4″ and “Top Gun 2″ are on the cards for 2011, too.

Previously…

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.