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Recruiting Chris Pine
The Jack Ryan of "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" stays true to the essential Tom Clancy lore - that of a very human man pushed to his edges by the most critical global situations -- while bringing the character hurtling into the CIA of our current world. To fuse the character's classic and modern qualities into one performance, the filmmakers looked for an actor who had plenty of both. They found exactly that mix in Chris Pine.

"Chris is a real thinking actor who has that analytical quality," comments Branagh. "He's someone who you can feel moment to moment questioning what's real and truthful and accurate. It was crucial to the film to have someone like Chris -- who is so comfortable in his own skin, who is effortlessly smart but equally sexy and charismatic -- take the role. Chris also has a wonderful self-deprecatory side; he has the ability to laugh at himself and he brings that ability to the character, and to the sometimes humorously confusing situation Jack finds himself in, which makes him even more engaging."

Adds Lorenzo Di Bonaventura: "Chris, as a person, is already very analytical, very inquisitive, always poking at what is right, what is wrong, what is true? I think he's naturally that way and Jack Ryan is also naturally that kind of guy so they are a great match. Chris was also incredibly brave in terms of doing his own stunts and really putting himself out there. He showed 100% commitment to the character."

For Pine, the draw that sparked that kind of commitment was the chance to create a more down-to-earth view of a real-life "secret agent." He loved the idea of letting the audience see Ryan's uncertainty, fear and even his disbelief as he undergoes his first initiation into the extreme hazards of the job.

"In the landscape of action heroes, Jack is different," the actor notes. "He's someone you might know in your regular life. He's a very smart guy, but now, he's put in this situation where he doesn't really know what he should do, where he has to really think on his feet in a way he never has had to before."

Pine also came to the role with a lot of respect for all the positive qualities Tom Clancy had imbued into the character. "One of the things that I think has made him such an interesting and lasting character is that Jack Ryan is a really decent man," says Pine. "There's a kind of goodness to his soul - so he's the kind of man you want to see learn to take the lead."

In a way, says Pine, Ryan is a mirror image to the other famous character he plays on screen: the out-sized Captain Kirk. "Kirk is brash and arrogant and it's because of those faults that he learns about selflessness. Jack, on the other hand, comes into this mission as a very grounded, centered man," he observes. "But the one thing Jack doesn't know -- like all of us -- is when it comes down to this urgent situation...does he really have what it takes or not?"

To prepare to play Ryan, Pine explored all the threads that make up his history. He spent time talking in depth with military veterans, he toured the London School of Economics, he dove into the mechanics of banking, trading and derivatives, and he even got to know a real-life Compliance Officer, the job which serves as Ryan's cover.

Equally key to his performance was honing in on Jack's thorny relationship with the woman he wants to marry yet can't tell the truth, his fiancee Cathy. "Jack is kind of a loner, yet the one strong connection he has is with this woman," he observes. "I think he sees in Cathy a kindred spirit, and in the course of the story, she proves to have as much backbone and courage as he does."

Throughout, Pine had the confidence that Branagh would bring all of these elements to the fore. "Ken is a director who does such incredible preparation that when he walks onto the set there is just no doubt about what he wants to achieve," he comments. "I've never done a film that moved as fast as this one, yet Ken always had it going on. And then he would jump with the greatest ease from behind the camera to in front of it."

Branagh felt equally excited about working with Pine. "Chris came in and really created the sense of Jack Ryan as someone who would rather be sitting reading a book on history than in Moscow on the run for his life - and then he showed him finding his depth," summarizes the director.

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