Right up front I’m labeling this as RUMOR. Big, fat RUMOR. Possibly even big, chinned RUMER*. This came in my in-box today from a source I don’t know, but the concept is intriguing enough and this is a topic we haven’t talked about too much, so I’m presenting it to you:

According to this source, known only as Admiral Greer, Sam Raimi wants James Franco to play the lead role in his relaunch of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series. But also according to the source Paramount doesn’t think Franco is the kind of boffo box office they want, so the producer and the studio are clashing over the casting. The source goes further to say that he thinks that Raimi is about to walk away from the Jack Ryan series because of this.

James Franco isn’t terrible casting, and I can see Raimi wanting to work with the actor again… and Paramount not thinking he has the box office clout to get this franchise back off the ground, so I rate this rumor at least mildly plausible (insert medium-chinned Rumer). But maybe Paramount not wanting Franco is wise. While I don’t doubt that he could pull the role off, he just doesn’t scream Jack Ryan to me. Maybe I have too much Pineapple Express on my mind, but I’ve always found Franco a bit mumbly and more of an inside himself actor. Casting him as James Dean back in the day was pretty much perfect.

What do you think about this wild, unsubstantiated rumor? Who do you think should be playing Jack Ryan in the new version of the series (assuming that Ben Affleck, who I thought was terrific in The Sum of All Fears, isn’t back)? Join the discussion on our message boards.

*I’ve often thought of instituting a rumor ranking system, a visual aid to let you know how reliable a rumor is. Wouldn’t a picture of Rumer with different sized chins – the bigger the chin, the less likely the rumor to be true – be an amazing system?