THE SUM OF ALL FEARS
About The Story
"We live in dangerous times," says producer
Mace Neufeld. "The number of bomb-like devices floating around the world is
of very legitimate concern. The possibility of a clandestine terrorist attack
gets stronger all the time, as reflected in newspaper headlines, which, on a
daily basis, seem to get closer to our story. Hopefully, they won't catch
"When I read the script. I was struck by how smart it
was, which is a touchstone of all the Tom Clancy movies," says director
Phil Alden Robinson. "They're smart action films. They're about the
issues of the real world, treated in an intelligent manner. In the post Cold War
world, with regional conflicts becoming more prevalent and the proliferation of
technology and information, the threat of someone using weapons of mass
destruction in a populated area, has increased tremendously. This is a movie
that shows the danger of how fear can drive our reactions and lead us to the
wrong conclusions and responses.
"The film is intelligent, detailed and realistic,"
Ben Affieck concurs. "I've always been a fan of Tom Clancy's novels and
the movies that are based on them."
In the succession of Clancy's Jack Ryan books, Ryan works
his way up from a young analyst in the CIA to the agency's deputy director,
and then to the director of intelligence. Eventually, he ascends to the
presidency of the United States. The challenge facing Neufeld and his team in
adapting The Sum of All Fears was how to get the Ryan character back into
action when he'd clearly reached the pinnacle of his career. To do so, the
filmmakers kept the setting contemporary, but rewrote the script to accommodate
a 28-year-old Ryan. who recently joined the CIA.
Casting someone to fill that role, which Harrison Ford had
portrayed with such success, wasn't easy, until one of the most
talented young actors working in Hollywood today, Academy AwardÂ®
winner Ben Affleck. came to mind.
"When Ben expressed interest in playing the role, we
didn't look any further," recalls Neufeld. "He's one of the most
exciting actors of his generation and the perfect choice. Besides being an
attractive leading man, he looks the part physically, so you can believe him
when he gets into action. He's also got a great sense of humor, which I think
"I'm delighted to have Ben play Jack Ryan. He's
talented, smart and articulate," says Tom Clancy. "He's also a
writer himself. In fact, he won his Oscar, for writing. Therefore, he brings a
whole new dimension to the role."
Director Phil Alden Robinson agrees: "In addition to
being a gifted actor, Ben is a very appealing guy with a tremendous native
intelligence. He's got a great curiosity, a winning way with people and a good
heart. I think he's a great Jack Ryan. In the world that Ryan
inhabits the world of the CIA and the secrets of privileged information Ben's a person who lets
the audience in. He's a way for us to get into Ryan's
world and understand it better."
In describing what attracted him to the role of Jack Ryan,
Affleck states: "Ryan is a very believable hero. He's moral; he has a
strong sense of ethics and he loves his country. The other thing that was
really interesting to me was Phil Robinson's take on the material,"
Affleck points out. "He's a very politically involved guy who wasn't
interested in making just an action movie. He was looking to make a smart,
suspenseful film that reflected the dangers of the current political climate.
This appealed to me tremendously."
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