EXCLUSIVE: Deadline told you two weeks ago that Paramount was courting Kevin Costner to play a key role opposite Chris Pine in the Kenneth Branagh-directed Jack Ryan film. I’m told that Costner has now accepted and they are working out a deal that will give him the chance to become a linchpin in not only the Jack Ryan film with Chris Pine, but also the spinoff franchise Without Remorse, for which the studio is now courting The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy, with Christopher McQuarrie rewriting to direct.
And the deal coming together envisions Costner potentially headlining his own film. He will play William Harper, a true blue American idealist who recruits and mentors both Ryan and John Kelly, the latter of whom becomes the CIA operative Clark by the end of Without Remorse. Branagh is reportedly going to play a villain as well as direct the Ryan film, and as Deadline first told you, Keira Knightley is the favorite to play Ryan’s love interest in the film.
I’ve been waiting to see Costner return to a big studio role and this sounds like a good one both for him and for Paramount. Costner galvanized Hatfields & McCoys, the History Channel miniseries which got a record cable rating and is up for 22 Emmy Awards, and it is clear that audiences want to see more of him. He has been very selective, but he’s stepping up … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has confirmed to me that it is near a deal with Christopher McQuarrie to adapt Tom Clancy’s 1993 novel Without Remorse, with an eye toward directing the film. I’d revealed last week that this was looking real and that Paramount wanted to stay in the McQuarrie business after the job he did adapting and directing Lee Child’s Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise, which the studio co-financed with Skydance. Paramount has high hopes that McQuarrie and Cruise have launched a new tough guy franchise with the Reacher bestsellers, and there is certainly that possibility in Without Remorse. But though the book first–a spinoff to Clancy’s Jack Ryan series–sold to Savoy Pictures back in 1993 for $2.5 million, it has proven to be a very difficult book to adapt, even though its protagonist was the basis for the operative Clark played memorably by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger. Paramount tried a couple of times to get it going, but the problem has been an incredibly bleak and violent storyline that McQuarrie will have to find a way to brighten if this is going to work. That effort has already been well underway through script work done by Shawn Ryan, creator of the seminal FX crime drama The Shield. Skydance, which is cofinancing the Jack Ryan series, is also partnered with Paramount on Without Remorse.
John Kelly … Read More »