There’s a strong tradition of film directors playing villains in feature film that goes back to Erich Von Stroheim in Grand Illusion, on through Orson Welles, John Huston, Roman Polanski, through even Tarantino. Aside though from maybe Lars Von Trier playing a director-as-villain in his Five Obstructions movie, not many directors come to mind that have played the villain in their own film. Kenneth Branagh would like to set that precedent however, as the recent Thor helmer is negotiating with Paramount to play the baddie in his Chris Pine-starring reboot of the Jack Ryan franchise.

I had not yet heard the synopsis for this reboot, despite the many many stories about Paramount’s attempts to make it happen (and hopefully make it happen correctly), but now we get an idea from Variety.

I say “we” when I actually might mean “the one asshole who wasn’t paying attention.”

Pine’s Jack Ryan is an ex-Marine who works as a successful financial analyst in Moscow. He discovers a plot by his employer to finance a terrorist attack designed to collapse the U.S. economy, and must race against time to save America and his wife.

Branagh is making a deal to play the Russian villain, who with the help of the local government, masterminds a plot to destroy America’s economy by making the dollar worthless.

I think Branagh would make a fine Bond-style villain, as damn if that doesn’t sound like a Bondian plot. He was definitely a giant dick in My Week With Marilyn playing Sir Laurence Olivia, and he got close to winning gold with that. A villain is always a good place to stick some Shakespeare-caliber thespianin’ into a big action movie, no?

Source | Variety (via MTV)