The Real Reason Alec Baldwin Didn't Star in Patriot Games

Talk about burying the lead. Over the weekend, Alec Baldwin penned an open letter to Charlie Sheen about why he should head back to Two and a Half Men, which doesn't matter until you realize Baldwin included five paragraphs about how he wound up not appearing in Patriot Games. "People often ask me why I never continued in the role of Jack Ryan in the movies based on Tom Clancy's great novels," Baldwin wrote. "Usually, I have given a half truth as an answer, something about scheduling conflicts and so forth. But the truth is the studio cut my throat. Or, more specifically, an executive at the studio named David Kirkpatrick..." Burn.

Baldwin goes on to recall a lengthy story about how Paramount was allegedly negotiating with both him and a "very famous movie star" (presumably Harrison Ford) simultaneously, in an effort to get Baldwin over a barrel. When he finally got Kirkpatrick on the telephone, however, the true intentions of the studio became clear.

I flew from Syracuse to Long Island to attend to some business. I drove to a friend's home where I was to have dinner and was informed by my assistant that I should call David Kirkpatrick right away. Kirkpatrick was a beady-eyed, untalented tool who had seemed like he was up to something throughout my sequel negotiation. Now, he became vividly clear. I had to decide if I would agree to an open-ended clause relating to dates for the first sequel and thus completely give up the chance to do one of the greatest dramas in the American theatre, or he would rescind my offer. They had the other guy all lined up, and they were looking for a way to gut me. I thought he wasn't serious at first. Then, when I realized he was, I chose A Streetcar Named Desire.

The rest, as they say, is history. Though it is possible that Baldwin's memory of the events isn't totally clear. At least according to Kirkpatrick, who wrote his own lengthy blog post on the matter, and tied everything to God... and script issues.

Fundamentally, the reason that Alec Baldwin and I ended our relationship over the character of the Jack Ryan franchise was an issue of trust. We did not trust one another to continue in the enterprise. The negotiations to continue as Jack Ryan had drawn out for almost a year and he was nervous over controls, as he was the man on camera and he had a right to be; yet, I had a responsibility, working for a publicly-traded company to keep the franchise alive. The greatest myth of the Twenty First century is that people are good. We aren't. We're not morally neutral. I know that's a terribly unpopular thing to say in the world today, but it happens to be true. The fundamental problem with learning how to reason through ethical solutions is that it doesn't give you a mechanism to override your natural tendency to do what is wrong. This is what C.S. Lewis-whose writings including Mere Christianity, have had such a profound influence on my life says. It's not inclusive or popular or in vogue , but the only way to get beyond ourselves is to let God take over. As John the Baptist said," He becomes more as I become less" At the center of Christ's teaching are only two fundamental laws: love God, love others.

Alec Baldwin withdrew from the project, Patriot Games, over an issue of script approval: I wanted him to approve a script and he refused. We amicably parted ways. But if we could have been in a place of goodness that the Lord resides, we would have gotten beyond our own egos to a place where men of honor stand. At the end of the day, the core of meeking is giving your strength and your status and your "stuff" over to higher purpose.

Right. Hopefully Charlie Sheen was taking notes on all this.

· 'Two and a Half Men' is Better Than None [Huffington Post]

· Making Movies: Alec Baldwin Calls Me A Throat Slasher In His Rebuke To Charlie Sheen [David Kirkpatrick via Collider]


  • Truth Serum says:

    Ah yes, a man who has been a back-stabbing ass all his life suddenly finds god and now blames god for all the trouble, instead of admitting he was simply an ass.

  • Bobby Fontaine says:

    EminEm and Charlie Sheen need to check this out if they plan on keeping up with Lady Gaga, it is NOT a spoof,, Lady Gaga says she is going to run for president, read it with your tigers eyes wide open, the 2012 presidential election is going to be all about Hollywood

  • Strawberry Pain says:

    Rather than finding God, I wish he'd found a copy of "Elements of Style."

  • Turns out there's still more to the story: Entertainment Weekly had all the same details (from both sides, really) back when it all went down.

  • SunnydaZe says:

    Baldwin wouldn't approve that version of the script because it had Jack Ryan finding Jesus is his heart and loving people for 120 minutes of screen time.

  • What is with all those "Christy" comments. Like God has anything to do with the movie business. WTF?

  • CiscoMan says:

    This will always be one my favorite Hollywood What If's. I feel like Baldwin could have done in the 90s what, say, Robert Downey, Jr. is doing nowadays. Alas.

  • jvmfan says:

    Charlie Sheen is coming up on a new "bottom" and Lindsay Lohan is grateful for the media break, I bet. Just saw a new book about drugs called "Addict Nation." The author is a recovering alcoholic and tv host. Reviews are pretty good at and you can decide for yourself. A lot about Lindsay Lohan in Addict Nation.

  • Dany says:

    Baldwin was so, so good in Red October. If they had continued on with him, I think they would have made more than two more films and they would have been better ones.

  • daveed says:

    I'm just grateful to Jesus Christ that Sean Connery was never again cast as a Lithuanian.

  • trafalgar says:

    I like how Kirkpatrick talks on and on about giving trust to a higher power, clearly believing he's talking about trusting God, when just as clearly he was asking Baldwin to trust HIM as if he were God. Which he was not, last time I checked.
    Baldwin's an unstable, angry guy, but he's one of the most phenomenally talented and versatile actors of the past few decades, and even the sterling projects he's had don't come close to fulfilling his real promise. And did Harrison Ford actually need that franchise? Is there anyone on earth who fundamentally remembers HF as Jack Ryan instead of Indiana Jones or Han Solo? It's a shame this went down like that.

  • Charles West says:

    I feel sorry that Jesus somehow got caught up in this.

  • Here's my take on all this. This is an egotistical alcoholic, getting in a slam at his fellow alcoholic with a lot of coded AA speak. Basically saying they've both done wrong in their lives but I've chosen to give it all over to God while you haven't so nah nah nah nah.