Now playing exclusively on Amazon Prime Video is the latest film based on Tom Clancy’s popular series of Jack Ryan books entitled Without Remorse, directed by Stefano Sollima (Sicario: Day of the Soldado) and written by Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water). However, instead of focusing on Ryan, the main character in The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, and Amazon’s Jack Ryan TV series, the new film centers on John Clark, the character that Willem Dafoe and Liev Schreiber played in Clear and Present Danger and Sum of All Fears, respectively.
In Without Remorse, Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) stars as Clark, and the new movie tells the character’s tragic origin story and sets up a possible sequel called Rainbow Six. Also portraying roles from the Clancy-verse are Jamie Bell as Robert Ritter (the character Henry Czerny played in Clear and Present Danger), Brett Gelman as Viktor Rykov (the role played by Kenneth Branagh in Shadow Recruit), and Jodie Turner-Smith as Karen Greer (the niece of the character portrayed by James Earl Jones in the Alec Baldwin/Harrison Ford movies and played by Wendell Pierce on the TV series). In addition, Coleman Domingo (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Lauren London (Baggage Claim), Cam Gigandet (Easy A), and Guy Pierce (L.A. Confidential) round out the cast.
We Live Entertainment recently had the pleasure of virtually attending a press conference featuring Michael B. Jordan. The actor discussed the new movie, which he not only stars in but also produced. The film was originally scheduled for theatrical release by Paramount but was ultimately sold to Amazon due to the pandemic. The actor/producer began the conference by discussing the film’s move from theatrical to streaming and how the industry is changing. “This film was obviously intended to be shot and played in a movie theater, but with the evolution right now, we are in an evolving time were obviously with the pandemic this last year, everything had to shift, and we were victims of that,” Jordan explained.
“So, we were trying to figure out where we would pivot, and how will we get our movie out to the masses, so everyone had an opportunity to watch it and see it,” he continued. “We were lucky enough to land at a place like Amazon to house this film, and I think it’s an evolution. There is going to be a healthy balance between the two. There is something to be said for being at home and having access to the films you want to see, but then I think there is also something about going to the theater and having that movie theater experience. So, it’s going to be a nice healthy balance in the future.”
Jordan also talked about his producing duties on Without Remorse and what he learned from the experience. “I think just being involved from the absolute beginning to the end, I think it was very hands-on in the way of how to build out stunts and what the process would be,” he said. “Having experienced producers like Akiva Goldsman and other people who have been through the process before or have worked on high stakes action movies, and really following their lead on how to package together this film. We had an intense airplane crash, and we were working with the visual effects supervisor to work out that sequence and how exactly we were going to shoot it practically. Are we going to use the crane on this shot? Will we need water tanks? You know, this and that, so it was going through building that out, and it was a learning curve for me. So, I walk away from this movie with more knowledge and experience in putting those sequences and movies together. I know when to shut up and listen and learn, so I was a sponge on this one. I think we walked away with something that we can be pleased about.”
One of the best action sequences in the film involves Jordan’s character holding his breath underwater for an incredibly long time, and the actor actually did his own stunt. He admitted that he learned to hold his breath for the length of a song, and the actor talked about the training he did for the film. “It’s one of those things where you know that your breath and breathing is definitely a trained thing,” he explained. “It’s an exercise, and if you stop training and stop exercising that muscle, you can definitely lose it. So underwater training is definitely something that we spent a lot of time with. We knew we had these sequences early in the script development phase. The director, Stefano Sollima, looked at me and said, ‘You know Mike, you have to do all of these, right?’ So I was like, of course. Easy, no problem.”
“So, we hooked up with some Military divers, and we spent time in the tanks,” Jordan went on to explain. “They put us under stressful situations where we would have to problem solve and work through malfunctions or gear failure. We also had to work through military re-breathers, which are basically machines that soldiers wear to suppress all the bubbles so they can breathe underwater without leaving any physical traces. I don’t know how many pounds they would weigh, but they were so heavy. Then you have a floatation bag that you have to manipulate the pressure so you can be buoyant enough to stay underwater but not buoyant enough to float to the top. It was a lot of very detailed training that we went through for the water exercises, and I could hold my breath during filming for a pretty long time, maybe three minutes or so. I love being in the water. Honestly, if you are calm and still, you can hold your breath for a lot longer. So, we created an environment for us to really relax and be at peace. Without giving too much away, there is a moment in the movie where you see me be at peace underwater, and that is the scene that everybody is talking about.”
“It was fun,” Jordan said of doing his own stunts. “I’m a little action-junkie, so as a kid, these were the movies I always watched that I wanted to be in one day in my imagination. So, the fact that I actually had an opportunity to do most of my stunts and work with this incredible stunt team was amazing. We still work with stunt doubles and people that actually vet the sequences. They make sure things are safe and teach us the proper way to handle ourselves in those situations. So, they assembled this incredible stunt team that allowed us to train at a high intensity and we were able to show up on the day and do the things that we needed to do. It was fun. We got banged up through the process, but it was so worth it. It’s fun because when you are working with these stunt guys, you build bonds and relationships with them and other actors, and it gives you that free range to go that much further.”