Keira Knightley Cast in Jack Ryan

Despite some apparently rigorous auditioning, there has not been a tremendous flurry over which leading lady would be cast as Dr. Caroline “Cathy” Muller Ryan in Kenneth Branagh‘s Chris Pine-starring Jack Ryan. Perhaps the years we’ve spent waiting for the film have burned us out, or maybe everyone is just sick of “shortlists,” but word is now out on the final choice for the role, and it’s an interesting one.

THR reports that Keira Knightley is in negotiations for the role of Mrs. Ryan for the film, which will serve as a prequel of sorts to Tom Clancy‘s book series about his popular CIA analyst character. The film will reportedly center “on ex-Marine and Moscow-based financial analyst Jack Ryan (Pine), who uncovers a plot by his employer to finance a terrorist attack designed to collapse the U.S. economy. Ryan must race against time to save America and his wife (Knightley).”

The role of Cathy Ryan has been most notably played before by Anne Archer in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, and she has also been portrayed by Bridget Moynahan in The Sum of All Fears and Gates McFadden (hey, Dr. Crusher!) in The Hunt for Red October.

Other potential Cathys included Evangeline Lilly (uh, what?) and Felicity Jones (which could have been a giant leap for the Like Crazy star).

While Knightley hasn’t avoided franchise work in the past – just look at Pirates of the Caribbean – this will be her first role in this kind of major action series, which will either be a feather in her cap or a giant mistake. With Branagh directing, she might be in the clear.

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