I don’t know how the world of Tom Clancy has entered film limbo – maybe it’s just because I’m one of the people who really thought that The Sum of All Fears was a terrific movie, and that there should have been a whole bunch of Ben Affleck-starring Jack Ryan films by now.
But Jack isn’t the only Clancy character trapped in Development Hell – John Clark, the super tough Vietnam vet and CIA assault team leader who has previously appeared onscreen in Clear and Present Danger (played by Willem Dafoe) and The Sum of All Fears (played, wonderfully, by Liev Schreiber). Clancy has written a couple of Clark-centric books, including his ‘origin story,’ Without Remorse (which I read and think kind of really sucks). Without Remorse has been getting batted around the halls of production for years, with Schreiber and Gary Sinise and Joaquin Phoenix all, at one time or another, poised to star. At one point John Singleton (an apparently odious and ignorant man) was going to direct with… Brandon Routh (?!?!?!) starring. But all of these projects fell apart.
Now Relativity Media has thrown their hat in the John Clark ring, snatching up John Clark’s rights and intending to finally bring Without Remorse to the screen with a Stuart Beattie script. There’s no word yet on whether Beattie’s take is set post-Vietnam or updated to the present day, and I don’t know if this deal includes the Rainbow Six books that Clark stars in, or if the deal just gives Relativity the rights to make more films featuring the character. At any rate, they’re seeing this as a franchise starter, and I’d like to see it as one too – I’ve been jonesing for more hard-hitting international espionage films in the vein of the Bourne movies and Casino Royale, and John Clark is a character made for that genre.