The fifth, still untitled Jack Ryan film has seen another mooted start date sail by, and has now hit a new reef with the loss of its director. Lost and Alias veteran Jack Bender has been attached to the film since the autumn of 2010, but his commitments to Fox's buzzy new Alcatraz series and to the SyFy pilot Rewind have forced him to abandon Tom Clancy's super-agent to another handler. Chris Pine, as far as anyone knows, remains attached to the Ryan role.
It's the latest in a series of setbacks to the project, which Paramount has been attempting to crack since at least 2006. Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener, Blindness) was at one point in talks to direct a screenplay called 'By Any Means Necessary'. Later, the project morphed into a retooling of a non-Ryan original script by Adam Cozad called 'Dubai'. This moniker was later changed to 'Moscow', and then dropped again. Following so far?
Anthony Peckham (Invictus, Sherlock Holmes) was then hired to give the script a polish, then Cozad came back, and then Steve Zaillian (Clear and Present Danger) was tasked with a draft, only to get cold feet and pull out again. The most recent version we heard about was being penned by David Koepp (Mission: Impossible, Jurassic Park) for a cool seven figure payday.
The basis for Ryan Begins apparently remains Cozad's story, with Ryan just out of the Marines, before he joins the CIA, working as a financial consultant for a Russian billionaire, and getting framed in a terrorist plot. Despite being based on none of Tom Clancy's novels (even though eight remain unfilmed), it apparently does feature the NATO-exercise helicopter crash mentioned in The Hunt For Red October, which saw Ryan invalided out of the Marine Corps.
For a while now, the idea has been to get Ryan moving as soon as Pine finishes with Star Trek 2. The latest start-date being thrown around is this summer, so if all finally goes according to Paramount's plans, expect a new director to be announced shortly.