Sorry, man, but Team Ford on this one. Alec Baldwin's new memoir "Nevertheless" just came out on Tuesday, and all kinds of anecdotes are making the rounds. In one section, Baldwin explains his beef with Harrison Ford. As you might guess, it's over Jack Ryan.
Baldwin played the Tom Clancy character first, in "The Hunt for Red October" in 1990. He alleges he was then pushed out by Harrison Ford (behind Baldwin's back), who took over for "Patriot Games" in 1992. Ford kept the role in "Clear and Present Danger" in 1994. Ben Affleck played a younger Jack Ryan in "The Sum of All Fears" in 2002, then Chris Pine took the role for "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" in 2014.
Here's how Baldwin relayed what happened on his end (via Business Insider). He wrote that director John McTiernan asked Harrison Ford if he was aware that Paramount was still negotiating with Baldwin to return as Jack Ryan in the sequel.
"Ford's reply, according to John, was 'F*ck him,'" Baldwin wrote.
If Ford did say that, that's pretty cold. But it's already a second-hand quote in Baldwin's own telling. And Baldwin stooped lower in retaliation, giving this physical description of Ford when writing about his first meeting with the actor at a benefit:
"Ford, in person, is a little man, short, scrawny, and wiry, whose soft voice sounds as if it's coming from behind a door."
Meow. Internet heights are only occasionally reliable, but -- for the record -- the web has Ford at 6'1" and Baldwin at 6'0.
Baldwin expanded on the Jack Ryan topic in a long essay for Huffington Post back in 2011. Here's just part of that:
"People often ask me why I never continued in the role of Jack Ryan in the movies based on Tom Clancy's great novels. Usually, I have given a half truth as an answer, something about scheduling conflicts and so forth. But the truth is the studio cut my throat. Or, more specifically, an executive at the studio named David Kirkpatrick who was, as studio executives are on their way both up and down the ladder, eager to prove he had that special quality that studio executives are eager to display. That quality is an utter lack of sentimentality while transacting deals around a business built on sentimentality.
The run of events in 1991 went like this. John McTiernan, who directed The Hunt For Red October, called me repeatedly over a period of a few days and that got my attention because John was not someone who did that. I knew it must be something important. I had been traveling to Syracuse to see my mother who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had lost my dad in 1983 to lung cancer when he was fifty-five and the idea of being an orphan, technically speaking, at the age of 33 weighed heavily on me. It took a few rounds before John and I connected.
On the phone, John told me that during the period of the previous few months, he had been negotiating to do a film with a very famous movie star who had dropped out of his film days before so that he could go star in the sequels to The Hunt For Red October. John further told me that Paramount owed the actor a large sum of money for a greenlit film that fell apart prior to this, and pushing me aside would help to alleviate that debt and put someone with much greater strength at the box office than mine in the role. I sat there mildly stunned because not only was I in an active negotiation with Paramount, but for them to negotiate simultaneously with another actor was against the law. My mother was about to have a double mastectomy. I asked John if he was sure about all of this and he said yes, he had talked with the famous actor directly who confirmed the story. All of this served to explain why the studio would not close my deal over what I thought were some relatively arbitrary issues surrounding the dates of production..."
Read his full essay. However it played out, it was a long time ago. And, sorry, but Sean Connery was the real star of "The Hunt for Red October." It doesn't sound that unreasonable for a studio to want to put Jack Ryan in the center of the franchise after that, with one of the biggest stars in the world in the role. And Harrison Ford was only Jack Ryan for two movies. And Baldwin's career has bounced back just fine. So it may be time to pull a "Frozen" and just let it go.
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