Hav­ing a Pine time

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - NEALA JOHN­SON

AS a kid grow­ing up on the edges of Hol­ly­wood, Chris Pine’s favourite ac­tion movie hero was Har­ri­son Ford. “With­out doubt,” says Pine, 33. Yet Pine, who found his way into act­ing at univer­sity, wasn’t look­ing to fol­low in Ford’s save- the- day foot­steps. In fact, now that he’s play­ing the tit­u­lar hero in Jack Ryan: Shadow

Re­cruit – the same Tom Clancy char­ac­ter Ford had such suc­cess with in the 1990s with

Pa­triot Games and Clear and Present Dan­ger – Pine seems rather sad he’s not go­ing to be play­ing those mys­te­ri­ous/ odd­ball/ funny- look­ing char­ac­ters a few rungs down on the cred­its list.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been a ‘ char­ac­ter ac­tor’ un­for­tu­nately,” Pine says.

“My heart’s prob­a­bly there, but that’s not been the case for me.”

In­deed, af­ter sup­port­ing roles in the likes of The Princess Diaries and Just My Luck, Pine’s ca­reer tra­jec­tory went straight to lead­ing man af­ter he scored the role of Cap­tain Kirk in J. J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek re­boot.

The team look­ing to sim­i­larly rein­vig­o­rate the Jack Ryan fran­chise ( the char­ac­ter has also been played by Alec Bald­win in The Hunt for

Red Oc­to­ber and Ben Af­fleck in The Sum of All Fears) signed Pine up that same year. In the time that fol­lowed, sev­eral ver­sions of a script came and went, as did a di­rec­tor. Pine played Kirk a sec­ond time, in Star Trek Into

Dark­ness, be­fore Ryan be­came a re­al­ity. Pine says he was al­ways sure the film would hap­pen – “it just took for­ever”.

When he fi­nally stepped on set in late 2012, Pine was faced with his Ford mo­ment: how to em­body the ev­ery­man hero.

“The chal­lenge is to take your­self out of it enough to let the story do the talk­ing, to let the other char­ac­ters shine,” Pine says.

Pine worked with Bald­win on the an­i­mated movie Rise of the Guardians, but he didn’t seek ad­vice on how to ap­proach Ryan.

“The only way to do it is to do it your own way. That’s what peo­ple re­spond to. The mo­ment you start try­ing to copy or try­ing to model your­self off another ac­tor, you’re dead in the wa­ter.”

The first Jack Ryan story not to be based on a Clancy novel, Shadow Re­cruit is di­rected by ( and co- stars) Ken­neth Branagh. It takes us back to Ryan’s be­gin­nings: in­spired by 9/ 11 to serve his coun­try, he is then re­cruited by the CIA to go un­der­cover on Wall Street.

Yes, it has ac­tion: “There was a lot of run­ning,” Pine laughs. “Run­ning af­ter Keira Knight­ley. Where did Keira go?”

There was also some se­ri­ous mo­tor-bik­ing on the streets of New York: “I was go­ing fast in and out of traf­fic – one of the great thrills of my life.”

And there was a snap: “I broke a fin­ger do­ing that fight scene with the large gen­tle­man in the bath­room … It was an in­tense scene, but it ended up look­ing pretty cool.”

Yet Pine’s Jack Ryan is more of a thinker – he needs to be to fig­ure out the com­plex fi­nan­cial trail that leads him to a ter­ror­ist plot in Rus­sia.

“I am def­i­nitely no brainiac, so I was act­ing up a storm,” Pine says.

Pine is a lit­tle wary of that word most as­so­ci­ated with Clancy’s hero: pa­triot.

“I didn’t re­ally have a de­sire to make a film about a flag- wav­ing Amer­i­can hero. I wanted to make a film about an in­tel­li­gent guy who is com­pelled to serve be­cause he feels within him­self this need to pro­tect what is right and to pre­vent what is wrong. That was way more com­pelling than any kind of clas­sic from- the-box Amer­i­can hero.

“That’s prob­a­bly at odds with the ge­net­ics of the char­ac­ter and what Tom Clancy wanted … but I felt in 2014 that it was the right thing to do. I went about my busi­ness por­tray­ing this man who didn’t do any­thing for any par­tic­u­lar ide­ol­ogy, for any piece of pa­per or what he was told by his su­pe­ri­ors; he was fol­low­ing his own sense of what was right.”

Pine is also think­ing out­side the box of the tra­di­tional ac­tion hero role: “I usu­ally seem to be ex­cited by things that are dif­fer­ent from th­ese ac­tion films.”

He points to Hugh Jack­man as an ex­am­ple that one can be a lead­ing man and eat his char­ac­ter cake too.

“He is one of my idols,” Pine says of the Aussie. “No one does it bet­ter than him in the fact that he’s a full en­ter­tainer.”

Pine’s made a start on that Jack­man- like diver­sity with his two most re­cent shoots – com­edy in the Hor­ri­ble Bosses se­quel, and singing in the mu­si­cal Into the Woods.

The for­mer, he says, has proven dif­fi­cult. “I find you have to be ex­tremely loose.”

As for the singing, how does he rate him­self on a scale of Frank Si­na­tra to an in­jured cat?

“I’m far away from Si­na­tra. But I’m cer­tainly try­ing to get there.”

JACK RYAN: SHADOW RE­CRUIT Now show­ing at Vil­lage cine­mas

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