By Edward Davis | The Playlist April 28, 2011 at 11:41AM
Jesus, how many screenwriters does it take to screw in a lightbulb, errr, get a screenplay to a proper place that studio and stars are happy with? In the case of the Jack Ryan reboot -- you remember that franchise, "The Hunt For Red October," "Patriot Games," "Clear and Present Danger," "The Sum Of All Fears," that saw Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and less successfully, Ben Affleck play CIA agent Jack Ryan as written by Tom Clancy -- it evidently takes a lot of writers.
Well, let's see. First there was a spec script called, "Dubai" penned by newcomer Adam Cozad and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura bought back in 2007 when it made the Black List. It had nothing to do with this.... yet.
So Paramount wanted to reboot the Jack Ryan series with actor Chris Pine ("Star Trek") circa mid 2009 (after George Clooney had passed) and then they hired Iranian scribe Hossein Amini (Nicolas Winding Refn's upcoming "Drive," "The Four Feathers," "Killshot"). At this stage in the game, the script would not be based on any Tom Clancy novel, and instead, the film would pick up with the CIA analyst before he joined the agency and was still on Wall Street as a broker. Then Adam Cozad was brought into the fold and apparently this Wall Street, to the Marines and then Moscow -- where the new Jack Ryan story would go -- was suspiciously similar to Cozad's "Dubai" script. Maybe the dude just decide to cannibalize his own work, more power to him. Eventually Paramount decided to use the working title of "Moscow" as their Jack Ryan reboot title seemingly not hiding this fact. Again, whatever, fine. Oh yeah, "Lost" director Jack Bender was brought on to helm the picture last summer.
Somewhere in this development process folks were still unhappy with the script and Anthony Peckham ("Sherlock Holmes") was brought on to pen yet another draft revision. Seemingly not able to crack the story in a way that involved all parties, the studio brought out the big guns, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian ("Schindler's List," "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," "American Gangster"). But just as soon as he was hired, Zaillian quietly left the project which effectively put the project on hold at Paramount. The studio then decided to get “Star Trek 2” on track with Chris Pine instead.
So what's going on with Jack Ryan? It sounds like a little bit of going back to the drawing board. The studio has hired tentpole screenwriting specialist David Koepp ("Spider-Man," "Mission: Impossible," "Jurassic Park") for a reported seven figures to rewrite the picture according to Deadline. Evidently an origin story, it's still using Cozad's "Dubai" as its building block foundations. But Koepp still has to finish his directorial effort "Premium Rush" starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, so he won't be writing until that picture's fully finished. Rather than rushing the Jack Ryan film into production -- which Paramount almost unwisely did this year -- they've decided to sit and wait, which is not a bad tactic at all. Sounds like this one won't surface until 2012 or even 2013, but hopefully if they let it grow correctly, it will be worth the wait.