Michael B Jordan’s upcoming Amazon Original movie Without Remorse is one such film that will not only be an exciting action thriller but also an emotional roller coaster ride of his character John Clark, aka John Kelly, that one can’t help but relate to. Having read several of Clancy’s novels and seen most of the past screen adaptations, director Stephano Sollima was a fan of the author’s work. Unlike Jordan, however, the “Rainbow Six” video games were not his forte.
“I’m pretty bad at them,” the director admits. “My kids are much better than me. Whenever we play together, they always win.” Sollima considers Clancy “the most interesting political thriller writer of his time,” and was drawn to the author’s talent for crafting stories that were simultaneously entertaining and profoundly realistic. “His most impressive achievement was the way he created fantastic scenarios that were filled with accurate technical and operational details. Personally, that’s something I always look for in films.”
Striving for realism was a major part of Sollima’s pitch to the production team. “It was my idea to have Michael do as many stunts in the movie as possible because I really wanted to build all the action around his character,” the director says. “My thought was to put him in these extreme situations and then try to feel exactly what he feels during the scenes. I did this to create a character that the audience would fall in love with. In order to reinforce this concept in the action scenes, my idea was to shoot almost everything from Kelly’s point of view only.”
Highlighting the differences between Jack Ryan and John Kelly was another aspect of Sollima’s pitch that won over the producers. “They are completely different characters in every way possible,” Sollima says. “Ryan is a part of the system; he’s a true believer in what he does for America. But John Kelly’s journey is much more emotional. He starts as a soldier who believes in what he’s fighting for, but when his wife is killed, everything cracks for him. Suddenly he doesn’t trust anyone or believe in anything. So he’s a more conflicted character than Jack Ryan. On one hand, he’s after revenge, but he’s also trying to do the right thing. That’s why I’m more interested in John Kelly. He feels like a real human being to me.”
The director is surprised Kelly has never been explored in this depth on screen before. “Kelly is a man who questions his work, his superiors, and even his country in order to find the truth behind the pain that was inflicted on him. Although he made brief appearances in some other movies, he has never had a film built entirely around him before this one. The idea behind the character is a very powerful and extreme concept, and it probably needed time to brew. Perhaps audiences just weren’t ready for a character like Kelly until now.” The chance to direct an actor of Jordan’s caliber was a huge part of the draw for Sollima.
Ryanverse fans might know James Greer fondly who has been an ally to Jack Ryan and John Clark over the course of many of Tom Clancy’s novels. However, the upcoming movie, Without Remorse is all set to change up and modernize certain aspects of the books. In a much-welcomed change, the movie is set to feature Lt. Commander Karen Greer, the niece of James Greer instead of himself.
Alana Mayo, the executive director, says, “Focusing on Karen Greer was a great idea that I wish I could take credit for, but it was actually Taylor Sheridan’s suggestion. Making our Greer a female Navy SEAL commander allowed for some bold casting choices.”
Alana and her team were more than happy when they learned about the fact that a certain actor was willing to challenge themselves, try something new and was up for learning and adapting to the role and undergo rigorous training to get into the character. She continued “Luckily we found Jodie Turner-Smith, who is, quite simply, spectacular in the movie.”
Turner-Smith, who plays the role of Lt. Commander Karen Greer, was picked up for the role even before her debut in Queen and Slim in 2019. Even the director of the movie made his feelings clear about the casting call when he said, “Not the predictable choice. Jodie had an extensive background as a model and had worked in television, but she didn’t have a lot of feature experience when she was cast in the role.”
He continued, “What I liked, though, was that she really wanted to try something different, and that was absolutely perfect because her character in this movie is very unusual. Although our goal was always to make an ultra-realistic movie, a female SEAL doesn’t actually exist yet. But since there will probably be one soon, we decided to create one ourselves.”
Producer Goldsman believes that inventing a female Navy SEAL is the kind of thing that Clancy’s devoted readership will appreciate. It will also be exciting for the females who watch the movie who will welcome the call for role reversal with open arms. It will truly be inspiring for all the young women to see a female play a role of such high significance.
Co-star Bell thinks Turner-Smith’s portrayal of the world’s first female Navy SEAL is one of the most exciting elements of Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse. “Jodie really modernizes the film,” he says. “She’s in nearly every action scene, and she’s fighting right alongside us, doing all the same stuff we’re doing. She went through exactly the same training we did, and in terms of representing the women who proudly serve in the military, she’s done a phenomenal job.”
Lastly, Turner Greer expresses her excitement about her role and hopes that it does end up inspiring women to go after their goals and to have that never say never attitude. She hopes that gender bias does not stop women from pursuing their dreams. She says, “I think it’s great that filmmakers today want to change the stories we’ve seen in the past and make them reflect our time now,” she says. “It’s all about giving people the opportunity to see themselves on screen, so I’d like for some little girls out there to watch this film one day and be like, oh yeah, I could do that too!”
Directed by Stefano Sollima, Without Remorse features Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Jodie Turner-Smith, Lauren London, Brett Gelman among others, and is all set to stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video starting April 30.
ALSO READ: Michael B. Jordan on Without Remorse: “We play with the idea that war is a game of pawns and kings throughout the film”
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