Inside the Making of Tom Clancy’s ‘Without Remorse’ With Michael B. Jordan

without remorse jamie bell michael b jordan
Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

Beware the man with nothing left to lose. Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, a movie inspired by the late author’s 1993 novel, tells the origin story of soldier turned CIA operative John Clark. Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther) plays patriotic Navy SEAL John Kelly, who’s eventually forced to change his identity. “John is loyal and loving to his country, [but begins to] realize he’s been betrayed on many levels,” teases Jordan.

The action opens explosively when Sr. Chief Kelly’s SEAL team arrives in the Middle East to extract a CIA agent ostensibly held hostage by the Syrian army. What they find instead are Russian soldiers, whom the SEALS kill.

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Months later, the Russians retaliate in the United States, executing members of the unit — and Kelly’s pregnant wife, Pam (Lauren London). Grief sends the soldier on a risky rogue mission: “He wants revenge,” says Jordan. Before long, Kelly finds himself in the middle of a twisty, high-level conspiracy, his idealism in tatters.

The thrilling story, which actor-producer Jordan calls an updated “fresh take” on the Vietnam War–set book, is just the first he and the director, Stefano Sollima (Gomorrah), hope to tell about Kelly/Clark.

without remorse michael b jordan

(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

A crossover with Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan — the hit Prime Video series starring John Krasinski as another Clancy hero, who knew Clark in the books — isn’t out of the question either. “We haven’t had time to sit down and look at the chessboard yet,” Jordan says. “But honestly, the possibilities are endless.”

In the meantime, Jordan and Sollima break down pivotal scenes and share with TV Guide Magazine secrets about making Without Remorse.

Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, Movie Premiere, Friday, April 30, Prime Video

Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

Secretary of Defense Thomas Clay (Guy Pearce) is an early ally of Kelly’s. “Clay is an ex-soldier,” explains Sollima. “There is an immediate connection between them. Like Kelly, Clay takes this foreign attack on American soil very, very seriously.” Even when Kelly breaks the law trying to catch the bad guys, the secretary seems sympathetic. “You can understand [the motivation] of everybody involved,” the director notes.

Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

Sollima says he aimed “to keep intact the soul of the book, while paying homage to the changing times.” He chose Jodie Turner-Smith to play tough Navy SEAL Lt. Cdr. Karen Greer, a new character. (In Prime Video’s Ryanverse, Greer is the niece of the CIA’s James Greer, played by Wendell Pierce in Jack Ryan.) Jordan says, “Having Greer be capable in the field and a boss who knew the high-level brass was crucial to the story.

Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

Jordan (with, from left, onscreen team members Jacob Scipio, Todd Lasance and Jack Kesy) did most of his own stunts. The most difficult for the actor, who trained with retired SEALS and military divers, was a lengthy scene on a downed plane that was filling with water. “[I] had to hold [my] breath for about three minutes, swim, do tasks with no goggles and come out alive!” Jordan marvels.

Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

To quote Kelly after the murder of his wife, “There is something inside of me that I can’t turn off…a part of me that won’t stop for anything.” Evidence that the grieving husband’s anger has boiled over: He tracks down corrupt Russian diplomat Andre Vaseliev (Merab Ninidze) and sets the man’s car ablaze. Kelly “keeps following those bread crumbs,” says Jordan (who played Clancy-branded video games as a kid).

Nadja Klier © 2020 Paramount Pictures

Greer — visiting a wounded Kelly in the hospital — does what she can to keep him on the proper path, and she remains loyal even when he ignores her advice or orders. He fully trusts the lieutenant commander too, but don’t expect sparks. “We wanted to avoid any possible [romantic] relationship between the two and keep them as comrades working together,” Sollima says. “That wasn’t easy because they are both [attractive]!”