Director taking on Clancy character after 'Hell'

Paramount Pictures is in negotiations with Sam Raimi to spearhead a franchise revival of Jack Ryan, the Tom Clancy-created CIA analyst character who drove four hit movies for the studio.

Raimi would develop and direct a series of films to be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Raimi’s Buckaroo Entertainment partner Josh Donen.

The intention is to generate several films Raimi would develop and direct, featuring Ryan at a younger, more formative point in his career than previously depicted. One invention the studio is considering is to set the film in the present, with the action triggered by a global threat.

Par will draft a scribe to write a Ryan movie that Raimi would shoot after he completes the Universal horror film “Drag Me to Hell.” Paramount wants the Ryan movie ready for release in summer 2010.

Ryan is the cerebral CIA analyst who climbed the political ladder and became an Everyman action hero star in a quartet of films spearheaded by producer Mace Neufeld. Alec Baldwin originated Ryan in 1990′s “The Hunt for Red October” and when Baldwin famously jumped ship to do “A Streetcar Named Desire” on Broadway, Harrison Ford replaced him in 1992′s “Patriot Games” and 1994′s “Clear and Present Danger.” Ben Affleck played Ryan in 2002′s “The Sum of All Fears.” The four films grossed $781.5 million worldwide.

While Clancy is completing another Ryan novel, the studio hasn’t read it and so hasn’t decided if it will use the new book or come up with an original story. Paramount controls rights to the Ryan character, and gets first look at the new novel.

Raimi was drawn to the project because he loves the character. The studio was attracted by Raimi’s skill in navigating a franchise, following a trio of “Spider-Man” blockbusters. Raimi is by no means out of the running to make more “Spider-Man” films, but he would have to direct the first film after “Drag Me to Hell” for the studio to make its 2010 release date.

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