Pine talks about playing Jack Ryan
(The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Chris Pine is the new Jack Ryan in Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming action-thriller Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (showing nationwide starting on Wednesday, Jan. 15), based on the popular Tom Clancy novels. Pine’s Jack Ryan is a CIA analyst who unwittingly discovers a Russian terrorist plot and is sent into the field to continue the investigation. 

Pine is the fourth actor to take on the titular role of the CIA Operative (following in the footsteps of Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck). The film co-stars Keira Knightley, Kevin Costner and Kenneth Branagh.  

You’re following in the shoes of Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck and Alec Baldwin. How did you make the role your own?

“I think I make the part my own simply by the fact that I’m in it so there are certain things that I bring to it that are different. I watched the films and enjoyed them growing up and I really like the spy genre. What I loved about Harrison is that he has an intrinsic humility to him that I think he brings to everything he does, whether it’s Clear And Present Danger or Patriot Games.

“So I always loved that humility of Harrison and with Alec Baldwin I just love that kind of sharp, incisiveness he brought to it. He was like a razor in terms of his ability to cut up information and put it together and process it. And I loved that in The Hunt for Red October, in order to avert nuclear catastrophe, he had to figure out the mind of one man and it all came down to this man missing his wife. So there was a psychology to it I really liked. And I think what sets our film apart is that there is great action in this film and when Ken and I started, we talked about how often in films you see so much death and mayhem and violence and no one ever really pays attention to it — you know that a bad guy dies but he maybe also had a wife and a kid but you don’t know his background. So we thought it would be interesting to see the face of that part of the experience.”

How did you prepare for your role?

“I came to the UK last year before we started shooting and Ken organized some things for me. We went to the American Embassy in London and we had this little spy game to do, which was a lot of fun.”

What did you have to do?

“It’s known as a ‘drop’ in spy parlance and the whole thing was like being at spy camp. Ken was really proud of himself and he was like, ‘I’ve organized a little something for you, Chris...’ and then we ended up at the American Embassy and the security team there were in on the plan. I had to find the people that were watching me and there was a drop at one point where I had to pick up a memory stick and do all kinds of stuff. It was a fun but as fun as it was even in that scenario, when you know that there are people out there watching you, your senses are immediately heightened and your heart starts to race.”

Did you talk to any real CIA agents?

“I talked with a guy there who was the head of security at the Embassy in London, which is the biggest Embassy in Europe, and his stories about being in Beirut were just crazy. And it’s often less about the stories but more about the energy you get from people like that.

Jack has been injured at the start of the story. Did you do any research into that?

“Jack Ryan has suffered a major back injury and he has to recuperate. I went to a facility outside of London where veterans are recuperating from major traumatic events from Afghanistan and Iraq and I got to talk to some of them. And again, we were bringing it back to the facts — if you are in a helicopter crash, what does that mean? It’s major and traumatic and if you see violence and death and all sorts of horrible stuff, that has an effect on you. And it’s the idea that this is a man who is wounded, like any of us would be, psychologically as well as physically, but he still wants to serve.”

Does it make a difference that Kenneth Branagh is also acting as well as directing Jack Ryan?

“What’s nice about working with an actor-director is that there is an understanding of the experience of the actors. Ken knows intrinsically what you are going through and what you may need at any given moment because he’s been there himself. And there’s a level of communication that’s better and easier often than with someone who hasn’t been an actor. Ken knows the experience and how it needs to be said to get across for me to achieve what he is looking for in a scene.”

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