Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland, the Lost creator and writer behind Amazon’s Tom Clancy-adapted series Jack Ryan, have said that they made a concerted effort to portray the complexities of relations between the US and the Middle East – and refused to skew towards blind patriotism.
“I think again it goes back to authenticity,” Roland told RadioTimes.com. “To blanketly say those guys are the bad guys and we’re the good guys is not really authentic and it’s not really accurate. So we just wanted to be as accurate as possible in the storytelling and show all sides of it.”
The first season of the Amazon drama sees CIA analyst Ryan (played by John Krasinski) come up against a terrorist syndicate run by two brothers [Mousa Bin Suleiman and Ali Bin Suleiman], whose family were killed by a western military strike in the Beqaa Valley when they were children.
“These two Syrian boys end up orphaned and become refugees in France and have a difficult time assimilating into French culture,” Cuse said. “We see the journey that leads them to becoming Islamist fundamental extremists – so it’s a complicated portrayal as opposed to a simplistic portrayal.” Check out the conversation in full below:
As the show’s lead, Krasinski also felt it was important to give the villainous characters real depth.
“For me the whole black hat, white hat version of storytelling is slightly outdated,” he said. “And the bad guy v good guy… I’m not a firm believer that anybody is innately good or innately bad – there’s grey area and that’s what makes us people.”
He also reserved special praise for his co-star Dina Shihabi, who plays the wife of Mousa Bin Suleiman.
“I think it’s really important for the show and one of my favourite parts of the show – that we’ve completely humanised his family. And, the families and friends and the places that these people are from usually get lumped into the same evil box as the person that’s making the horrible decisions, when really they had no choice, and so Dina, this actress who plays [Suleiman’s wife] is just so incredibly talented and so good in this role, and really brings such a human quality to that whole side of things.”