Related: ‘Jack Ryan’ Finally Set For 4th Quarter 2013; Keira Knightley Cast As Chris Pine’s Love Interest; Prequel Story Starts Trilogy

Paramount and co-financier Skydance Productions today scheduled this long gestating, highly anticipated action thriller that will be the first of an anticipated franchise trilogy. After various starts and stops, bad luck and good fortune, the release date for Jack Ryan now is Christmas Day of 2013. It goes up against Universal’s martial arts movie 41 Ronin with Keanu Reeves as well as Fox’s comedy remake of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty directed by and starring Ben Stiller. Jack Ryan resurrects the popular Tom Clancy character of CIA analyst Jack Ryan last seen on film in 2002 and now played by Chris Pine in the role already made famous by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and Ben Affleck.  This contemporized original prequel story picks up Ryan before he joined the CIA. (Paramount long ago locked in Pine after he played Captain Kirk.) His love interest and the female lead is Keira KnightleyKevin Costner has an invented but key role as does the film’s director Kenneth Branagh who will play the Russian villain plotting to wreck the U.S. economy. Paramount like every studio is looking to build tentpoles and has a good opportunity for more than one here by cross-pollinating characters like The Avengers successfully keeps doing. David Koepp was hired for 7-figures to redraft the script by Adam Cozad. The studio’s desire to get the screenplay right prompted Paramount to even shuffle the start dates of Jack Ryan with Pine’s other studio franchise, Star Trek 2Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Mace Neufeld are producing for Paramount and David Ellison’s Skydance Productions is cofinancing the entire Jack Ryan series under its overall Paramount deal.  Ellison will also be involved in a producing capacity.

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