Posted on Thursday, October 21st, 2010 by Adam Quigley
Tom Clancy has found great success expanding his various novels into the video game medium, as developers continue to churn out seemingly endless entries into the Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon series (among others), but when it comes to film, Jack Ryan has cornered the market. Out of the four films that have been adapted from Clancy’s novels, all have featured Ryan, who is easily the author’s most famous and widely recognized character. Now a fifth is in the works, and it’s starring Chris Pine as — what a surprise — Jack Ryan.
But wait, what’s this? For the first time ever, the work of Tom Clancy is actually heading to theaters sans Ryan, with an adaptation of his novel Without Remorse. Though Ryan isn’t featured in the book, the story does take place in the “Ryanverse”. In fact, the book’s central protagonist, former Navy SEAL and CIA operative John Kelly (aka John Clark), has been portrayed twice before in the Jack Ryan films, first by Willem Dafoe in Clear and Present Danger and later by Liev Schreiber in The Sum of All Fears.
Writing the adaptation is The Shield creator Shawn Ryan, who until now has primarily worked in TV, most recently serving as a writer and executive producer on FX’s Terriers.
Vulture has the news, which mentions nothing of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra screenwriter’s Stuart Beattie‘s adaptation of the novel. Not too long ago, Beattie spoke to MovieHole about writing the script and said it was “the hardest adaptation I’ve ever done”, and even professed his interest in directing the film. Has Paramount, who bought the screen rights to the novel shortly after it was published, moved on from Beattie, or is Shawn Ryan simply contributing a new draft of the script?
In any case, Star Trek writer-producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are producing the film, the plot of which involves John Kelly seeking revenge against the Baltimore drug ring responsible for the death of his girlfriend. The novel takes place during the ’70s, but for now, there’s no set plan to make the film a “period piece”.
Here’s a more in-depth plot synopsis of the book:
Avid readers of Clancy’s bestselling techno-thrillers ( The Hunt for Red October et al.) know agent John Kelly, code-named Mr. Clark, as Jack Ryan’s “dark side.” Here, in 1970, Vietnam vet Kelly gets involved in a secret operation to rescue 20 American pilots from a North Vietnamese prison camp. Betrayed by someone in Washington, the mission ends in apparent failure. Clancy balances the military movements with a dark narrative of Kelly’s tragic personal life. While mourning the death of his pregnant wife in a traffic accident, Kelly picks up a young hitchhiker named Pam, a prostitute and drug “mule” fleeing her cruel masters. The pair fall in love and set out to bring down the drug lords, but an error on Kelly’s part leads to Pam’s horrible demise at the hands of the vengeful criminals. After his own recovery from a shotgun blast, Kelly begins methodically to murder his way through the drug ring.