Spotlight Movie // The Sum of All Fears

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Review: The Sum of All Fears
  • The Sum of All Fears (Grade: A-) — By focusing on story instead of star power, "The Sum of All Fears" injects life into the Jack Ryan franchise. Reviewed by Brian Orndorf.
    Posted: 05/30/02

  • Tom Clancy: President, Ben Affleck Admiration Society
      Ben Affleck's casting as Jack Ryan has made author Tom Clancy giddier than a Tiger Beat subscriber. Clancy is so tickled, he's planning "younger" Ryan novels with Affleck in mind, says Inside.

    Affleck is currently filming his first turn as Ryan in "The Sum of All Fears," which Clancy originally wrote with an older, wiser Ryan as the protagonist. After Harrison Ford passed on reprising Ryan in "Sum," Paramount turned to Affleck and sent the script back for a youthful revision. The Inside article says Clancy welcomed the departure of Ford, marking the first recorded occasion where someone is happy to lose the most bankable star in Hollywood history.

    And who did Clancy want in Ford's place? According to an unnamed agent who spoke with Inside, George Clooney was a favorite successor. While Clooney isn't attached to any future Ryan projects, there's always the unlikely chance Paramount will develop two Ryan franchises: the old Ryan and the young Ryan. Now, the only person to propose this ridiculous idea is me, so take it with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, if things go south for Paramount, they could dull the pain with a double-dose of Ryan, perhaps even crafting a lame space-time wrinkle that allows Old Ryan and Young Ryan to join forces against ethnically stereotyped terrorists.

    I think I need some rest.
    Posted: 3/20/01

    Sum of All Fears Update
      Press releases are created to justify the existence of PR drones (it's a pitiful justification), but from time to time newsworthy information surfaces amidst the marketing lingo. Such was the case today with a Paramount press release that explains how Ben Affleck is being squeezed into the role of Jack Ryan in "The Sum of All Fears."

    "The Sum of All Fears" will be Ben Affleck's first (and possibly last) film in the Jack Ryan franchise. Harrison Ford passed on the opportunity to reprise the Ryan role, which meant the writing team had to rework the "Sum of All Fear's" plot to incorporate the considerably younger Affleck.

    According to the press release, Ryan will now be a lowly CIA analyst brought in by the CIA director (Morgan Freeman) to add his insight on escalating tensions between the U.S. and Russia. Things really escalate when terrorists, posting as Russians, detonate a nuclear weapon in Baltimore during the Super Bowl. "The world is pushed inexorably towards war," reads the press release, "unless Ryan can supply the needed proof to stem the tide of disaster in time."

    Of course, Ryan will save the world, earn the respect of his co-workers, and, given his new bachelor status, get the girl. Clearly, this film's outcome is less important than its journey, and with Morgan Freeman beside him you might give Affleck even odds at making the journey successful. But let's not forget that Freeman's steady hand failed Keanu Reeves in "Chain Reaction" and Christian Slater in "Hard Rain." Will "The Sum of All Fears" be another loser collaboration between Freeman and a hot-shot youngster? We'll find out sometime in 2002 when the film is released.
    Posted: 3/07/01

    "Field of Dreams" Director Circles "Sum of All Fears"
      When you haven't directed a major movie in eight years, risk takes a back seat to a steady paycheck. This statement might be the reason why Phil Alden Robinson, whose last film was 1992's "Sneakers," is close to signing on to helm "The Sum of All Fears." Based on Tom Clancy's novel, "Fears" will be the next chapter in the Jack Ryan saga, but unlike the last two Ryan movies, Harrison Ford won't be the star. As reported over the last couple months, the considerably younger Ben Affleck slid into the Ryan franchise after Ford passed on "Fears." The already-questionable production was dealt another blow when Phillip Noyce, director of "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," said a scheduling conflict would prevent him from directing his third Ryan film (that conflict was probably a dentist appointment of a pee-wee soccer match). As it stands, the "Fears" production has a popular, but untested, lead and a director with a sparse filmography. Then again, Robinson coaxed a decent performance from Kevin Costner in "Field of Dreams" so maybe he'll work miracles with Affleck. For more on Robinson's possible involvement, visit Variety.
    Posted: 9/25/00

    "Patriot Games" Director Bolts from Upcoming Jack Ryan Movie
      Phillip Noyce, director of "Clear and Present Danger" and "Patriot Games" has passed on the chance to direct "The Sum of All Fears." The Hollywood Reporter says Noyce is unable to direct his third Jack Ryan feature because of a "schedule conflict." If the producers of my movie replaced a proven star like Harrison Ford with a smarmy punk like Ben Affleck, I'm sure I'd find a conflicting project as well. As reported a few weeks ago, Affleck signed on as the new Jack Ryan after Ford passed on the project. Unless Affleck can pull a mind-numbingly good performance out of his limited bag of tricks, I'd say Noyce made an excellent decision.
    Posted: 8/24/00

    Jack Ryan Finds Fountain of Youth, Becomes Ben Affleck
      Variety columnist Michael Fleming has confirmed that Ben Affleck has signed on as Jack Ryan. As reported a couple weeks ago (see below) Affleck's involvement in the next Tom Clancy movie was rumored after Harrison Ford declined an offer to star in "The Sum of All Fears." The screenwriters are undoubtedly cursing this casting news because they're now faced with the daunting challenge of writing for a much younger Jack Ryan. I imagine they'll take the easy way out by ditching the wife and kids and repackaging Ryan as a Gen-X James Bond. Affleck's chance of success is decent as long as Gwyneth doesn't sign on as his English-accented, superspy love interest.
    Posted: 8/03/00

    Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan? Ugh.
    good will this baby  
    © 2000 Dimension Films  
    When it was reported that Harrison Ford had turned down the lead in "The Sum of All Fears" my first thought was, "I hope they don't tap some Gen-X popular boy to be the next Jack Ryan." Well guess what? Gen-X popular boy Ben Affleck might be the next Jack Ryan. This disturbing news comes from Zentertainment. I have yet to see it confirmed anywhere else, but my cynical nature leads me to believe this bugger. I like Affleck—he's a Boston-bred guy and that, by default, makes him swell in my book, but for all his Beantown goodness, he's no Jack Ryan. Ryan is a slightly-grizzled middle-aged man. Granted, Harrison Ford is pushing the far edge of middle-age (unless he lives to be 110), but the man has a quiet wisdom about him—and he can point that index finger like no one else. All Affleck has is a smartass charm, which will get you far in life, but it won't give you Harrison Ford's presence. Affleck could pull this role off in 10 years, but right now he's 28. That means that 18-year-old Thora Birch, who played Jack Ryan's daughter in "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger," could theoretically be a love interest in one of Affleck's films. C'mon people! That just doesn't work! Paramount should go back to the "Hunt for Red October" formula by signing Alec Baldwin to star and John McTiernan to direct. Screw the younger demographic and stay true to the franchise.
    Posted: 6/26/00

    Will The Next Jack Ryan Please Stand Up
      Last week The Hollywood Reporter ran a story saying that Harrison Ford won't reprise the role of Jack Ryan in "The Sum of All Fears" (Coming Attractions has the full rundown). Using that information as a foundation, let's take a ride over to Ain't It Cool News where Harry makes a good argument for reinstating Alec Baldwin as Mr. Ryan. Right now the suggestion is pure fantasy, especially since Ford has two Ryan pictures left on his contract with Paramount. Nonetheless, Harry crunches the numbers and reveals that Baldwin's sole foray into the world of Jack Ryan ("The Hunt for Red October") yielded significant box office. If Paramount could reteam Baldwin with "October" director John McTiernan the results could be pretty damn fantastic (and economically viable, but who really cares about that?).
    Posted: 6/12/00