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CIA Officers Tout 'Jack Ryan'

4 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

LOS ANGELES — From 1990’s The Hunt for Red October to 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the adventures of Tom Clancy’s character Jack Ryan have always been embellished to entertain audiences about what life is like in the spy business. Just ask some CIA officers.

“Certainly the chase scenes aren’t something Mike (Michael Sulick, a 28-year CIA veteran) and I have ever experienced, or the guns with the silencers on them,” said Marti Peterson, a retired CIA clandestine operations officer.

But Peterson — who was captured by the KGB and imprisoned in Moscow during the Cold War — can easily attest to the character portrayed in Shadow Recruit, which pulled in $135.5 million at the worldwide box office, and hits DVD, Blu-ray Disc and VOD June 10 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

"Certainly the character of Jack Ryan depicts a real person, with real tensions in his family, during his decisions, his time in Moscow. That’s very realistic,” she said.

That’s something Sulick — former director of the National Clandestine Service, the clandestine arm of the CIA — backs up wholeheartedly.

“For those who have watched the evolution of this character, you see his beginnings, an average boy from hometown America, which is in fact who we really are,” Sulick said. “We don’t come from some special place that breeds spies. We’re the boys and girls next door.”

It’s been a dozen years since the last Ryan film, The Sum of All Fears, and Shadow Recruit starts over, reimagining actor Chris Pine’s Ryan character as a wounded Marine, who joins the CIA as a pencil-pushing analyst. After uncovering a terrorist plot against the United States, and surviving an attempted assassination, he quickly finds himself activated as a field operative in Moscow.

Actor Nonso Anozie (Ender’s Game, Son of God) plays the assassin charged with killing Ryan, and failing, but not before a brutal, close-up brawl.

“We did a lot of prep work for it, rehearsed for about three weeks, and shot it over the course of two, two and a half days,” Anozie said. “Because director Kenneth Branagh (who also stars as the main villain), wanted to get it perfect, come in close, make it a dirty, nasty fight, you had to see our faces, we had to rehearse it, get it done ourselves, instead of leaving it up to stunt doubles.”

That fight scene ended up costing Pine: when Anozie tackled Pine into a bathtub, Pine suffered a spiral fracture in one finger.

Anozie and the CIA officers may not have much in common, but they agree on one thing: Shadow Recruit should set the scene for more Jack Ryan films.

“I think this sets the scene for an enduring story, a development of the character as he goes through his career,” Peterson said. “I think it would be fascinating.”

Anozie added: “A lot of people who watched it loved it, and now that it’s coming out on DVD and Blu-ray, I think it’s something that will capture [a lot more] hearts.”

The Blu-ray combo pack includes a commentary track, several featurettes, and deleted and extended scenes.

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