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]



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