Variety reports that instead of trying to find someone to play the villain, the seasoned actor, writer, and yes, director, is going to play the damn role himself. Worked on most recently by writer David Koepp -- one of a battery of writers who have worked on the picture -- the film formerly known as "Moscow" will still maintain its Russian setting, and finds Jack Ryan now working as an analyst in Moscow who uncovers a plot by the company he works for to launch a terrorist attack and bring down the economy of the United States. Branagh would play villain.
Even though these days it seems it would take far less than a terrorist attack to rupture the American economy, the real life/current world stakes are interesting, and as long as the baddie doesn't do too much moustache twirling, it's an interesting choice for Branagh to play it, especially since he's directing as well. But if he feels he can key in on the character better than anyone else, more power to him. But then again, trying to sell a blockbuster where the hero is Chris Pine and the villain is Kenneth Branagh might be overestimating just how valuable of a brand Jack Ryan is to moviegoers.
As for if/when this will roll, it remains to be seen, but Branagh isn't lacking in projects to take should this fall apart with an adaptation of Henning Mankell's "Italian Shoes" with Anthony Hopkins and Dame Judi Dench, "The Guernsey Liteary And Potato Peel Pie Society" with Kate Winslet, and an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" all developing...one of these will get moving soon, right?