It sounded, for a few weeks, as if Keira Knightley was done with the blockbusters. The actress, and star of the giant “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, told Empire Magazine this month “It comes to a point where you think, ‘What kind of film can I make that will allow me to live a proper life?’ And those tent-pole movies make it difficult… I became aware of how much I was complaining about it and you can’t complain about the attention you’re getting while still doing the films that invite the most attention. I do actually love blockbusters but that decision has a lot that comes with it that I’m not prepared to go with.” And certainly, her recent run of films, from the imminent “Anna Karenina” to John Carney‘s just-wrapped “Can A Song Save Your Life,” have been smaller scale.
But never say never, and it looks like Knightley has found a project (or a paycheck) that’s won her back over to the blockbuster side, as The Hollywood Reporter bring news that the actress is now officially in talks to join Chris Pine in “Jack Ryan,” the long-in-the-works reboot of the Tom Clancy character previously seen in “The Hunt For Red October,” “Patriot Games,” “Clear And Present Danger” and “The Sum Of All Fears.”
A week or two back, Knightley was said to be testing for the role of Ryan’s wife in the film (now officially titled “Jack Ryan,” it would seem, presumably part of the “John Carter“/”Jack Reacher” trend of naming films after guys who sound like they work in real estate) alongside “Lost” star Evangeline Lilly and fast-rising actress Felicity Jones, but it looks like it’s Knightley (by far the biggest name of the three) who’s won out, and we imagine the presence of director Kenneth Branagh (who’ll also play the film’s villain) convinced her to come back into the tentpole fold.
The plot for the film (most recently rewritten by “Jurassic Park” scribe David Koepp) sees Ryan (Pine), a Marine turned financial analyst, discovering a plot by his Moscow employer to bring down the U.S. economy, and going on the run to save both his country and his missus (Knightley). Given that the film’s not just attracted Knightley, but also the attentions of Branagh, Kevin Costner, who’d play Ryan’s mentor, and franchise veteran James Earl Jones, one would hope that this is a cut above similar films, as we’re still not entirely convinced that anyone has a burning desire to see Ryan back on screen. Filming gets underway next month, and we imagine that Paramount are targeting a “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol“-style slot around Christmas 2013 for the film.