Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions have gone top shelf in trying to get its Jack Ryan franchise relaunch to the starting line. The studio has hired David Koepp to rewrite the film. I’m told that Koepp will be paid 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad. The project still has Lost‘s Jack Bender aboard to direct and Chris Pine to play Ryan. Pine has long been attached to play the character created by Tom Clancy, one who has been played by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck in various incarnations at Paramount. The studio’s desire to get the script right prompted Paramount to shuffle the start dates of Ryan with Pine’s other Par franchise, Star Trek 2. That move was prompted by the exit of Steve Zaillian, who scripted the 1994 Ryan film Clear and Present Danger and did uncredited rewrite work on Patriot Games. Zaillian made a deal to rewrite the reboot script but had a change of heart and withdrew before getting started. Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing and Mark Vahradian is executive producer. David Ellison, whose Skydance will co-finance the film under its overall Paramount deal, will also be involved in a producing capacity.

The film will still be a Ryan origin story largely based on the Cozad spec script Dubai, which Cozad re-purposed. Anthony Peckham did a pass and Cozad came back on a project that by then was called Moscow. The film is now untitled, but I’ve heard its launching point is one that gets a mention in Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October, in the book and the original film that starred Baldwin. It has to do with a terrifying helicopter crash that nearly killed Ryan when he was a 23-year-old platoon leader in the US Marines. He was the only member of the platoon to survive.

Koepp, whose franchise work includes Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man and Jurassic Park, will get started as soon as he finishes work on Premium Rush, the film he cowrote and directed, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon starring. What is the timing on these films? I’m told the hope is to start production on the Ryan film sometime in January. JJ Abrams is busy finishing and will be promoting Super 8, but then he’s expected to be back at the helm of the Star Trek sequel, which has Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof finishing the screenplay. That film has a June 29, 2012 release date. Pine would then move right into Jack Ryan. CAA and attorneys David Fox and Eric Greenspan rep Koepp.