Kenneth Branagh talks about his ‘villain’ role in Jack Ryan

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Kenneth Branagh’s stepped away from the bard in leaps and bounds of late. The actor and filmmaker’s behind-the-scenes camera-wrestle on “Thor” will be followed by the Jack Ryan reboot, which he directs and – as recently revealed by the trades – co-stars in as the villain.

The flick, the first not based on a book by Tom Clancy, tells of the twenty-something adventures of Jack Ryan (Chris Pine). Branagh plays a Russian rogue.

Speaking to Collider, Branagh spoke a bit about the film and the character he’s playing in the rejuvenated franchise.

“Jack Ryan is a very fast-paced, very contemporary, very action-driven thriller. I don’t tend to think of him as a villain, but if you’re playing a villain, you don’t think of him as a villain. You just think, “My guy.” The character is a great anti-thesis, but it isn’t as simple as that. It’s great to see a character in this film with Jack Ryan. It’s just a very strong, very interesting, complicated, complex character. When the project first came my way, it was really to do that. I had a long time to think about that prospect, before actually eventually having them ask me to direct it. And then, we put aside the issue of me being in it for awhile ‘cause there were so many other things to deal with. Literally, months later, Paramount said, “Well, do you think you might?,” and I said, “Yeah, I think I’d like to.” “

Branagh, stating that the film starts “shooting in the beginning of September, and we’ll be shooting through until Christmas”, said it’s been a pleasurable experience developing the big-budget tentpole with the studio and the other parties involved.

All the key players are involved. Chris Pine has made tremendous contributions, as has Lorenzo di Bonaventura. He was with the franchise before. My job is guiding all that. I feel very, very happy with the way it’s going. I feel my job is basically to bring all those influences together in a piece that is about something very, very particular, thematically, and people seem happy with that. I think that a lot of exciting elements are finding a place where the film is happily, truly about something. When you get that under something that is also a page-turner and has a high adrenalin factor, I think that’s a nice combination. I have high hopes for the picture.

Branagh, in a separate interview with Yahoo!, said “Jack Ryan” will fill in the blanks about the character we were introduced to in 1990′s “The Hunt for Red October”.

“[It] is an origin story that allows us to understand how Jack Ryan, created by Tom Clancy, whose very much involved with this version, develops into a CIA analyst, so this is before joining — perhaps even joining the CIA,” he said. “It’s a very contemporary action film.”