‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ sees action anew in Amazon series

Streaming service gives Tom Clancy’s character a new adventure
Wendell Pierce (left) and John Krasinski star in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” premiering Friday, Aug. 31, on Amazon.

In books and movies, Tom Clancy’s CIA character Jack Ryan has fueled series already – and he’s now on his fifth portrayer as he enters the streaming-show universe.

First came Alec Baldwin, then Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine … and now, the analyst-turned-field-agent stays on the relatively inexperienced side as John Krasinski assumes the role in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” which Amazon debuts Friday, Aug. 31. Being released in full that day, the eight-episode first season removes Ryan from desk work, sending the ex-Marine overseas after his fact-crunching uncovers a terrorist plot against America.

“Paramount owned some rights to Jack Ryan because that studio produced the movies,” explains executive producer Carlton Cuse. “The last movie didn’t do that well financially, and I think they felt they weren’t going to be able to justify the cost to make more features (about Ryan), so they gave the project to their TV division – and in turn, the TV division approached Graham and me and offered us the project.”

“Graham” is fellow executive producer Graham Roland, who previously worked with Cuse on “Lost” and brought his own military background to “Jack Ryan” as a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq. Like Cuse, he’s a longtime fan of Clancy’s novels. “Most of his books I read, I read in the ’90s as a kid,” Roland reflects. “I went back and read some after (being in) the military, primarily for this project, and I think a lot of it rang true.

John Krasinski stars in “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” premiering Friday, Aug. 31, on Amazon.

“He got a lot of the details right that I think a lot of other writers would not invest that much time or research in. He’s one of the most popular writers among the military. Almost every other (member) who came up in my generation has been affected either by the movies or the books prior to their service.”

Other familiar characters transitioning from the Clancy stories into the series include CIA higher-up James Greer (now played by Wendell Pierce) and Ryan’s doctor love interest Cathy Mueller (Abbie Cornish). The cast also includes Timothy Hutton, Blair Brown and Peter Fonda.

Recently both director and star of the hit movie “A Quiet Place,” Krasinski also is an executive producer of “Jack Ryan.” He’s now filming the already-ordered Season 2 in South America, and Cuse credits his versatility: “In Hollywood, it’s very easy to be typecast, and John has done an incredible job of changing people’s perception of him. Not only has he altered himself physically, but there’s a lot more to him than just Jim in ‘The Office.’ I think he felt he had a lot more in his tank, and he’s proven that that’s the case.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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