With the Prime Video series “Jack Ryan,” actor and producer John Krasinski set about creating a roller coaster thriller steeped in the world of Tom Clancy, with each season roughly pulling from one of Clancy’s classic Jack Ryan novels. But Krasinski wasn’t prepared for the storyline chosen for “Jack Ryan” Season 3 – which chronicles an aggressive Russian push on Ukraine – to become a reality after the season was already in the can.
“We wrapped the show before the conflict ever happened, I think us now seeing even hints or small mirroring of our show in real life is the greatest heartbreak to all of us,” Krasinski told TheWrap in a recent interview. “And we take it all very, very seriously. But even having to explain that we wrote and shot the show before the conflict even happened seems like an alternate reality. It seems like an alternate universe that we’re even talking about it because that’s how sad it is that anything we could come up with in our show could even potentially happen in real life.”
The third season of the spy series finds Krasinski’s Jack Ryan catching wind of a secret Russian plot to restore the Soviet Union. Part of this plan hinges on creating unrest in Eastern Europe, which is where conflict with Ukraine comes into play.
“The original idea [for Season 3] was about three years ago, I tried to put a small homage to each of Tom Clancy’s books and/or movies into each of the seasons,” Krasinski explained of where the Season 3 storyline came from. “So in Season 2, there was a little ‘Clear and Present Danger’ in there, and for Season 3, we had chosen ‘Hunt for Red October,’ and my idea was, instead of a nuclear submarine, what if what Jack Ryan was looking for was a man, someone with intel that could de-escalate the situation?”
The ”Quiet Place” filmmaker said no steps were taken to rework the storyline in post-production, once the real-world conflict with Ukraine broke out.
“Once the conflict happened, I think we were all – out of deep, deep respect – making sure that we didn’t capitalize on that in any way, shape or form but rather just stay the course with the stuff that we had already written.”
“Jack Ryan” Season 3 also faced its share of challenges during production, as they were one of the first shows to go into production in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Krasinski says they felt a responsibility to do so safely, but acknowledged difficulties in shooting an international spy thriller during a worldwide pandemic.
“Not only was the world trying to get back on its feet, but certainly our industry was trying to get back on our feet. So all of us felt this great responsibility to do that, to be one of the first shows out of the gate, which was very, very difficult to do, not only with all the protocols, but also to keep everybody safe, and make sure that if someone was exposed, we all went into quarantine several times,” Krasinski explained.
“So it was very, very difficult to make a show when large numbers of people were going down every single day with either the virus or being quarantined. But I also felt it for me personally, and I’m sure I speak for [my co-stars] too, enormous pride in pursuing it and soldiering on and figuring out a way to get back because I think there was a lot of fear that if you couldn’t get back the right way, we weren’t going to come back at all.”
“Jack Ryan” Season 3 is now streaming on Prime Video with a fourth and final season on the way.