Quick replacement of Jack Bender puts project back on track

With Jack Bender falling off the untitled Jack Ryan pic, Paramount and Skydance Pictures moved quickly to find their next director — and it’s Kenneth Branagh.

Variety first reported that Bender had fallen off early last week due scheduling conflicts. Sources told Variety that the news did not bode well for the project after it had been development for so long at the studio. If Branagh’s deal goes through, project is back on the front burner at Paramount.

Paramount and Skydance had no comment.

The untitled pic, based on the character created by Tom Clancy, has been a priority at Paramount since Chris Pine came aboard to star, with Lorenzo di Bonaventura producing.

After several rewrites, Paramount most recently brought on David Koepp to do a polish last spring with hopes of starting production after Pine wrapped “Star Trek 2″ sometime in September.

The move makes sense, given Paramount’s relationship with Branagh after he directed “Thor,” which went on to make more than $500 million at the worldwide B.O.

Branagh is attached to direct “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” for Fox Searchlight but this latest news puts his attachment to direct that film in question.

He is repped by WME, Troika and Hofflund/Polone.

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