Thrillist: Let me start with a comparison. A Quiet Place is a genre movie, but it also has a very rich allegorical dimension. That’s what makes the movie work: the emotional core. Jack Ryan is a genre show. So what, for you, is the equivalent core?
John Krasinski: My own movies are extremely personal to me, and anything I write or produce or direct has to have this incredibly deep DNA. On this one I have the luxury of just being an actor. But at the same time, it does have a core: the character. I signed on for [Jack Ryan] and the character himself. He’s someone I grew up loving -- he’s like the American James Bond, you know? A lot less sex [laughs], but our James Bond nonetheless.
What about him is relevant in 2018?
Krasinski: Well, I loved the idea of someone like Jack Ryan being introduced at the time we’re in now. Not only politically, but more importantly in terms of culture. We have so many superheroes right now who wear capes and fly around and shoot things out of their hands, and it’s really nice, and really refreshing, to have a hero who just uses his brain and his instincts. Maybe I’m taking it a bit far. But when I was a kid, I thought I could be Jack Ryan. It seemed possible. Maybe I can’t be Iron Man -- but I can be Jack Ryan.
The show, too, is commendably… dry. It’s not simplified.
Krasinski: Thank you! That’s awesome. That is the Tom Clancy influence. I didn’t have much to do with the creative development of the show, but for Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, the showrunners, I think it was really important to make it like the books. That’s how they pitched it to me: They wanted to feel like a Tom Clancy book. Of course, the books are starting to feel a little dated because Tom Clancy’s superpower was writing such incredibly specific stuff to a time, and that time has passed. Their theory was they could take the tools he uses and apply them to the modern day, but still be as rigorous with detail. It’s authentic. The way to make it feel authentic is to not give the audience too much.
Was that your strategy on A Quiet Place as well?
Krasinski: Certainly on A Quiet Place, that was our theory. You don’t want to just blow through it. The more we can have you feeling like you’re keeping up, the more invested in the movie you’ll be. And hopefully that’s where the show will go.