'The Shield' Creator Shawn Ryan Adapting Tom Clancy's 'Without Remorse' For Paramount

by Oliver Lyttelton
October 21, 2010 6:56 AM
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You should never underestimate the appeal of a little name recognition to a studio executive. What other possible reason could Paramount have to spend millions and millions of dollars in the eight years since 2002's "The Sum Of All Fears" trying to continue the Jack Ryan movies, based on the novels by Tom Clancy, despite the fact that it's the least interesting franchise in cinema history. The almost character-free Ryan now has a new incarnation in the shape of "Star Trek" star Chris Pine, who'll topline "Moscow," directed by "Lost" helmer Jack Bender, when it films early next year.

But Paramount, now missing key franchises like the Marvel movies, aren't happy to stop there: they've also spent some time over the years developing spin-offs based around John Clark, the black ops agent played by Willem Dafoe in "Clear and Present Danger" and Liev Schreiber in "The Sum Of All Fears." Clark's toplined a few novels by Clancy, including "Rainbow Six," which Paramount was developing for John Woo to direct back in 2004, and prequel "Without Remorse," which came close to being made with Joaquin Phoenix as Clark and John Singleton in the director's chair.

News emerged back in August that writer Stuart Beattie ("Collateral") wanted to make "Without Remorse," the follow-up to his directorial debut and Australian smash hit "Tomorrow When The War Began," having worked on a draft of the Clancy project a few years back. Unfortunately for him, while the project is moving, it sounds like Beattie won't be involved, as Vulture is reporting that Shawn Ryan has been hired to pen a new adaptation of the project.

Ryan is a relative newcomer to the big screen, but is something of a TV veteran. Best known as the creator of FX's much-missed cop drama "The Shield," he's been a producer on shows like "Angel" and "Lie To Me," as well as co-creating "The Unit" with David Mamet and currently serving as co-creator and showrunner with "Ocean's 11" scribe Ted Griffin on "Terriers," for our money the best new show of the season without the words "Empire" or "Boardwalk" in the title.

Ryan's work leans towards the darker side of the spectrum, so it makes sense that he'd be hired for this, which features Clark seeking revenge on the Baltimore drug gang that killed his girlfriend. While the book is set in the 1970s, it seems unlikely that the film version (being produced by "Star Trek" and "Transformers" writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci) will retain that.

It doesn't sound like a hugely enticing prospect -- Clancy, in general, is fairly generic, and this plot in particular seems especially so. But Ryan's involvement has piqued our interest a little: the best of his TV work has been able to bring a fresh take to familiar cop, military and private eye genres. Either way, we'd be surprised if this moves forwards before "Moscow" hits screens, so it's a ways off yet.

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