Is Ben Affleck The Next Jack Ryan?

Published June 27th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Affleck's name has emerged as a likely candidate to take over the role of CIA man of action Jack Ryan from the Hollywood elder statesmen. With a string of recent flops to both stars' names, The Sum of All Fears could be just the ticket to A-list insurance.  

No matter that Ford was 52 years old when he last played Ryan in Clear and Present Danger and that Affleck is a mere pup at age 27.  

And what would they do with Ryan's wife (played by Anne Archer in both Ford-as-Ryan films) and his daughter — who's all grown up now into 18-year-old American Beauty star Thora Birch?  

Looks like they'd have to jettison the immediate family or go with "Jack Ryan, the early years" to make a transition to a decades-younger star work.  

Although Paramount has sunk time and money into its development of The Sum of All Fears and director Phillip Noyce is still attached, the studio could opt to bring earlier Jack Ryan books such as The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988) to the screen. A new Ryan adventure, The Bear and the Dragon, is due this August.  

The family-oriented agent was first embodied on-screen by the then-32-year-old Alec Baldwin, who abandoned the role after one turn in The Hunt for Red October. Word is, Clancy's always favored Baldwin over Ford.  

Coincidentally, Affleck's pal and Oscar mate Matt Damon looks like a go for another spy flick, The Bourne Identity, which he's taking over from rival blond hunk Brad Pitt. At least 29-year-old Damon might more realistically fill in for the 36-year-old Pitt.  

Affleck was also rumored to be the next Batman (with Damon's name floated as the Boy Wonder and gal pal Gwyneth Paltrow as Catwoman), before the Reindeer Games star pooh-poohed the idea as so much hot air—  


© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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