Some actors work for decades to escape their TV pasts, and for some, it's harder than others. Child actors, for example, are frozen in time through syndication and reruns to always be that little precocious runt who zinged one liners in that family comedy for seven seasons. Other actors go from waiting tables to getting their big break on a show that turns into a hit, and become household names.
John Krasinski is one of those people. As Jim Halpert on The Office, Krasinski had the fortune of playing one half of the heart-and-soul of the comedy as well as the everyman that everyone rooted for. Even the name "Krasinski" has the Pavlovian effect of conjuring up an image of a mop-topped Jim staring at the camera and making that Jim Halpert face. Like just now, you totally saw him turn toward the camera after something dumb Michael Scott did. It's not a voodoo curse on Krasisnki or anything like that; being associated with Jim is a good problem to have, but Krasinski is clearly trying to make the next step to stardom with new projects that distance himself from goofy office prankster (A Quiet Place had zero practical jokes).
Krasinski's next TV show is Amazon's Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, and anyone with a dad who reads knows what that show is going to be about. Krasinski stars as Ryan, the Clancy universe character featured in the films/books The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, The Sum of All Fears and more. Though the character goes from CIA analyst all the way to President of the United States, Jack Ryan starts early in his career as a CIA desk jockey who gets tangled in a world of espionage and world-saving.
Amazon released the first full trailer and key art for the show before its debut on Aug. 31, and the question that should be on everyone's mind is whether Krasinski can follow in the footsteps of other actors who played Jack Ryan, including Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine. The answer is... well, I don't have an answer, but I'm thinking maybe?
It's hard to watch the trailer and not see Jim accidentally dropped into an action movie. But what Krasinski has working in his favor is Amazon's Jack Ryan focuses on Ryan's first field assignment so he's supposed to be have those rookie jitters, and that totally uses his nice guy face to his advantage. However, the show has already been renewed for a second season, so this version of Ryan can't hide behind "Be gentle, it's my first mission!" for too long, and Ryan is going to have to snap a few necks on his way to flag-waving freedom. Heck, the key art is
Jim Halpert Jack Ryan casually standing in front of a massive explosion and attack choppers while burning embers shower down on him and he looks oh-so rugged in his J. Crew thermal top.
Can Krasinski pull a Chris Pratt and leave Halpert behind as he ventures into the action world? Anyone who's seen his horror film A Quiet Place knows he can (go watch it, it's great). But he had a dope beard in that. Maybe he'll grow one for Season 2?
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan premieres Aug. 31 on Amazon Prime Video.