Just last week, the long-gestating fifth, still untitled Jack Ryan film hit yet another behind-the-scenes setback as Lost director Jack Bender had to drop out because of scheduling clashes. At the time, we said that a new director would likely be announced quickly, and so it has come to pass. Paramount is now in talks with Thor’s Kenneth Branagh to heft the megaphone.
Assuming he actually makes a deal to direct, Branagh could kick some life back into the project, which has been floundering through development so far. Paramount has been trying to get the movie made since at least 2006, burning through both writers and directors, with the likes of Fernando Meireilles, Anthony Peckham, Steven Zaillian and David Koep all attached at different times.
The plan for the story is still to flash back to Ryan’s younger days, with Chris Pine taking on the mantle as we see him leave the Marines and work as a consultant for a Russian billionaire, which in turn leads to him being framed in a terrorist plot. It’s anyone’s guess as to what plot elements have remained through the various script drafts.
Branagh’s attachment would have seemed more of a shock before he made the superhero pic last year: right now very little would surprise us short of him taking over the Katniss role in the next Hunger Games film (and hey, he's a good enough actor that he could probably nail it).
But it’s also unclear where this leaves The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which Branagh had been developing and which he'd snagged Kate Winslet to star in. We’re pretty sure Paramount will want the director to focus on Ryan if he takes the job, especially if it sticks to the plan for Pine to shoot it after he finishes work as James T Kirk on the currently-shooting Star Trek sequel…