Monday, March 14, 2011

You Don't Know (About) Jack

If you're like me, you've spent many a sleepless night pondering why actor Alec Baldwin bailed on playing Tom Clancy's intrepid CIA analyst Jack Ryan after just one film. Having established the beginnings of a very solid franchise with the 1990 John McTiernan-led thriller The Hunt For Red October, Baldwin's decision to skip out on what could have been the iconic role of his career (not to mention a guaranteed paycheck) by bolting from 1991's Patriot Games in favor of a stage run of A Streetcar Named Desire always struck me as a bit of a "George Lazenby" moment.

After all, while the Ryan series continued on its merry way, with first Harrison Ford (in Games and 1994's Clear And Present Danger), then Ben Affleck (in 2002's The Sum of all Fears), and now Chris Pine (in the upcoming Moscow) inhabiting the part, it's safe to say that Baldwin's career has only recently met up with that early promise (via his Jack Donaghy character on NBC's 30 Rock). As it turns out though, there was a little bit more involved in the Ryan defection than just an actor following his muse, and Baldwin has finally spoken on the whys-and-wherefores of his leaving Ryan behind in, of all places, a Huffington Post op-ed wherein he offers some career advice to the waterlogged dinghy that is Charlie Sheen. The short version? Baldwin got screwed. The long version? Check it out here.

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