Paramount is currently in development on an original adventure for the Tom Clancy hero Jack Ryan, simply dubbed Jack Ryan. Keeping true to the political-thriller-friendly CIA badass' twenty-year cinematic history, and a legacy of great talent, the studio has recruited a hot young star (Chris Pine) and a director who doubles as the film's villain (Kenneth Branagh, Shakespearean elite and the guy behind 2011's Thor). Now, the search begins for a leading lady.
Deadline is reporting that three actresses are in contention for the role: Keira Knightley (currently the top choice by producers), Lost's Evangeline Lilly, and Like Crazy's Felicty Jones. Knightley is no stranger to the world of blockbusters, a veteran from her time on the Pirates of the Caribbean films. But even when she donned swashbuckler garb, she never wowed with her action skills. A great actress, but not the type you picture kicking butt. Jones is untested in the big budget arena, but like Knightley, she is a terrific performer with potential making her the trio's biggest question mark. Lilly is known for physically demanding role on Lost and should see a serious career boost from her role in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit. She plays a newly created character that does her fair share of troll-stomping. If Jack Ryan's female counterpart gets in on the action, Lilly could be the best bet.
It all comes down to how they play the character. Unlike James Bond and his ever-growing list of female counterparts, America's homegrown hero Jack Ryan has always been a committed man (albeit in fewer big screen adventures). Whether it's Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan in 1990's The Hunt for Red October, Harrison Ford in 1992's Patriot Games and 1994's Clear and Present Danger, or Ben Affleck skewing to younger audiences in 2002's Sum of All Fears, the Jack Ryan character has consistently been a dedicated significant other. Sum saw the character shacking up with Dr. Catherine Muller (Bridget Moynahan), but eventually in Ryan's timeline, he found himself a married man. Not too common in Hollywood blockbusters.
Caroline Ryan was featured prominently in the Ford films, portrayed by Oscar-nominated actress Anne Archer. She wasn't a female action hero, rather an emotional support for Jack Ryan as he attempted to save the world time and time again. Deadline suggests that Caroline is the character featured in Jack Ryan. If that's the case, the modernization of the franchise may evolve that role into a woman that can stand side by side with Jack, as opposed to waiting for him to return from an adventure. Physicality could be the deciding factor.
There's no set release date for Jack Ryan, but news on which starlet takes home the part is on the horizon.
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[Photo Credit: WENN.com]