Paramount making a Jack Ryan film without Ryan?

hunt.jpgClear and Present Danger , The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games were very successful spy movies back in the day and apparently Paramount is looking for more of that sort of success, but they are going about it in a very strange way. Here’s what director Phillip Noyce had to say over at movieweb.com:

Phillip Noyce, who directed Jack Ryan films Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, tells Moviehole that he’s heard that the wheels are in motion to put C.I.A agent Ryan back on the big screen. But no, he won’t be involved and by the sounds of it, neither will the man who invented the popular literary character. Apparently there’s a legal loophole that enables the studio to make a film based on the character – without getting Clancy’s input.

According to Noyce, Paramount is looking to re-launch the Jack Ryan film series that began with 1990’s The Hunt for Red October … only this time, the film would not be based on one of Tom Clancy’s books. The studio has the right to make a film based on the character but not John Clark, a character that appears in his own set of Clancy novels without the permission of author, and so they’re going to come up with their own story for a new Ryan movie.

Wait a second. Ok. A movie studio is trying to make a movie based on a character from a book series but doesn’t take any of stories ever written about him, and may not even use him in the movie? Whaaaaat? Man, that is confusing. It also seems wrong.

I know they are apparently within their legal rights but it just smells a bit sour. If this is true then they are basically stealing a character and making up their own story to go along with it.

Why not hire the author to write something specifically to their requirements? If I was a fan of his books I’d be very excited to see a movie that was about a character I loved but done with a completely different take, if the author was involved. But if that was done without the creator’s permission I wouldn’t trust the product.

I liked The Hunt for Red October series, it was intelligent, well acted and well written. I’d even like it is Harrison Ford came back and reprised his role. But I think in any business ethical behavior should be upheld, and when it is not…well, the venture tends to sink faster than a submarine.

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