The fact that Tom Clancy is not happy with how Paramount Pictures has adapted his bestselling "Patriot Games" to the screen has been public for months. Now it seems the studio is having its own doubts. The producers are bringing Harrison Ford, who stars as CIA agent Jack Ryan, back into town next week to do reshoots after test audiences complained about the film's ambiguous ending.
"By the time Jack Ryan's family has been besieged by terrorists, you want a bigger payoff--at least that's what the people who come to those test screenings kept telling the marketing folks," said a Paramount source familiar with the project.
So Paramount, which has already spent about $42 million making the movie, will shell out a few million more restaging the climactic boat scene where Ford faces off against his nemesis, the vengeful terrorist Sean Miller (Sean Bean), a member of the fictional super-violent IRA splinter group, the Ulster Liberation Army. Sources also said scenes are being re-edited, reinserting dialogue taken out in the rough cut to better explain the plotline. Final cost of the movie, including marketing, is expected to be $65 million.
The consensus among industry observers is that Paramount's gotten itself in a bind on the picture considering "Patriot Games" is the studio's first of seven summer releases--and arguably its most important. The movie is scheduled to open June 5, just five weeks away.
Producer Mace Neufeld was unavailable for comment, but a Paramount spokewoman characterized the reshoots only as "pick-up shots" having to do with the ending. Damage control on "Patriot Games" has been going on ever since Clancy made it known his dissatisfaction with the filmmakers' treatment of his story, even though he has no legal right to dictate what kind of adaptation Paramount makes of his novel.
He angrily told the Los Angeles Times in March that out of some 200 scenes in the movie, "only one corresponds with my book," among other transgressions.
But recently, Clancy has clammed up. He's in the middle of negotiating with Paramount over rights to the latest Jack Ryan book, "The Sum of All Fears." Clancy has agreed to work with director John McTiernan at Universal on a script about the Persian Gulf War, leading some to speculate that the author is using his latest deal to put pressure on Paramount.
Paramount already owns the third in the series, "A Clear and Present Danger." The first, "The Hunt for Red October," co-starring Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, grossed $200 million worldwide.