[This story contains some spoilers to the series finale of Jack Ryan.]
Michael Kelly’s nearly 30-year career in television and film has seen him play a variety of characters, from cop to political mediator and Italian gangster, as well as villain and superhero ally. But when asked which is his favorite, Kelly is quick to admit that few jobs in Hollywood have brought him more joy than playing freelancer and former CIA field agent Mike November in Tom Clancy’s. jack ryan series, which concluded its four-season run on Friday.
In the Prime Video series, viewers first meet the November character in the second season. November is a strict and strict CIA agent who is in command of the agency’s office in Venezuela. But corruption and chaos erupt and an agent under November’s command, Jack Ryan (played by John Krasinski) shows his boss that sometimes Washington DC directives can be broken to save the life of a fellow operative who is being held. in the country. against his will. Ryan isn’t about to leave a fellow agent behind, and November quickly sees the light. Any dreams of a steady chain career path within the CIA are dashed at that point in November when it comes to choosing between his personal career aspirations or doing the right thing, and looking for other agents whom he ultimately sees as part of his family within. from the world of espionage.
the hollywood reporter recently chatted with Kelly via Zoom (before the July 13 actors’ walkout) about November and her departing arc on the series, from her first appearance to the final episodes released this week, and why it was such a treat. for him to interpret.
In season three, Mike November was a bit bitter towards the CIA (Jack Ryan and November fight to stop an attempted coup in Russia and a potential conflict between a US and Russian warship carrying nuclear weapons). Ultimately, however, comes November for Jack Ryan and the agency. And the same can be said for the heroism of November here in season four. What motivates him and does he continue to help Ryan after he left the agency?
That’s back to what happened in the second season, right? when we were made persona non grata there in caracas [Venezuela] And I’ve been married twice and divorced my wife, and I’m leaving the CIA, and I’m still with Jack because I felt it was the right thing to do. And I’ve always sided with Jack, because I know that if he has a hunch, it’s usually right.
And it’s interesting when you think about it, because here’s a man who dedicated his life to this. He did it in the shadows at the CIA. He had a comfortable job, a comfortable position. But I think he’s driven by a deeper moral compass and knowing that Jack was right in that case. He was like, “Okay, I’m going to throw it all out there; throw it all on the line. I’m going to go do the right thing.”
And I think he also missed the action a little bit. And he had to go out on his own and start his own business from scratch. Sure, he had all the connections, sure he had all those things, and he settled in a really nice place in Greece, and November told them to go away. But they were like, no. But, sometimes you can’t do everything by the book.
What brought November back in this season? We knew in season four that a faction of drug and people traffickers in the Asian country of Myanmar was trying to team up with the cartels of Mexico in an effort to execute a form of convergence on American soil through acts of terrorism. But at the beginning of this season, it seems that November has returned to the quiet underground life of hers. Is it a brotherhood?
Jack and [James] green [played by Wendell Pierce], Yeah! November knows it. These guys are willing to die for each other. If you look at how Mike November changed from the beginning of season two to the end of season four, he’s almost a completely different guy. And it’s because of that brotherhood. It’s because of what he found in these men that I think there’s a part of Mike November that no matter what he’s doing, he just can’t wait. He knows that Jack is going to call him. He knows that Jack is going to need him. He is doing his thing; he is making tons of money; he is living the good life. But he’s like, “Oh man! I have to go on a fair mission!”
The Mike November character also seems to have brought a bit of a comedic element to the stories. How did you become the humorous agent for Jack Ryan’s straight man?
I have John (Krasinski) to thank for that, and the writers, obviously. But I have to thank John very much for being one of the kindest and most genuine people he could ever work with. As that character changed, I think the writers realized the relationship that John and I have personally and the humor that we share. I often say that I am very lucky to have a job where I can go to work and I laugh so much that I cry every day. And it’s the truth! Most days if we are on set together we cry because we laugh so much! A lot of times on set, John would say, “say this” and “say that” and I’d be like, “Oh my gosh, I can’t say that with a straight face!” Mike says everything deadpan, but those words are so much fun to say, man! John has a brilliant sense of humor, second only to his wife. [Emily Blunt].
In your evaluation, what makes the TV version of Jack Ryan different from other movie versions of this story?
I think two things. One, John Krasinski! I think I’ve said it in many interviews, and I really believe it in my heart, I think he’s the best Jack Ryan we’ve ever seen. I think he has the ability to share three things: the humanity in the character, the obvious sense of humor in the character, and his ability to pull off the action like any of the best people out there. He has that, doing a lot of his own stunts.
And then you combine that with the fact that this is the first time the Jack Ryan story has been told in long form. So you take those two things and combine them, I think he’s the best and most entertaining Jack Ryan because you get to spend a little bit more time with him. Someone is going to be mad at me for saying that! (laughs) But that’s my opinion, mate, and I stand by it!
Let’s talk about some of the intense battle scenes your character faced in previous seasons and this current season.
Even when we’re shooting it, there’s something about the stakes being high. I remember the mass shooting at the palace in the second season. [filmed in South America], and we were running full charges in this marble clad palace! We would go to these places, and I would never say it’s like being in a gunfight, because I have no idea what that’s like. But, the noise! You’re like, I better get this going! It’s really overwhelming and it’s scary and you’re like “okay, I’ve got your six”, because you’re there for your brother. Shit is crazy and people are running. And you know you can’t aim there, and you can’t aim there. You know your life is not at stake, but you feel your adrenaline soar. And there’s something about that that’s exciting, especially for a 57-year-old.
In episode four of this season, the stone castle where the enemies gather so the convergence can begin seems to nod to the classic James Bond movies and escape the lair of the evil mastermind. Can you talk about filming that episode?
I forgot the name of the fort, but where we actually go and there are like women in glass boxes, everything is for sale, right? None of that in real life, of course, but that was filmed in Budapest. It was filmed in an old royal fort and they dressed it up like this. I’m pretty sure that’s where we were, but it could have been Croatia. Anyway, it was crazy filming there and seeing all that stuff and driving… I forgot what crazy car I was pulling up in. Every day you say: “Wait, I have to do that?” And that was definitely one of them, but you feel bad for the girls in the cages. [The episode also shows the horrors of international sex trafficking.]
But filming the show was a lot of fun. There are long nights and you arrive at sunset and leave at sunrise, but that was great. And it was just one of those reminders that jack ryan Spares no expense in designing the setting and bringing in the most talented people to create these worlds in this strong, otherwise cavernous void. It is really impressive; the drug bars! It was amazing, just the smallest of details that this team put together,
Do you have a favorite episode, season or location??
I would say Croatia was pretty spectacular. That was beautiful. Mike’s house in Santorini.
Did you do most of your own stunts throughout the season?
the three of us [also Kransinski and Pierce] He did everything we were allowed to do. But now I’m 50 and my wife is a personal trainer/yoga instructor, so I stay in shape. But, you feel it!
I’ve been shot a couple times on the show. It’s this season – light spoiler for episode five – where they shoot me on the rocks. When they fired at me, each time I came back against these rocks. First of all, you have to go into the water to get there. John and I just stood there and did our typical laugh and cry between takes.
But after the third or fourth time of hitting those rocks hard, you feel it. The next day, you look in the mirror and you turn to the side and say to yourself, “yeah, that’s a bruise, yeah, that’s a cut.” But it’s better, in my opinion, to do it than to have seen someone else do it and say to yourself, “I wouldn’t have done it that way.”
Will we see Mike November appear in a future series derived from the Jack Ryan saga?
I don’t know. This is Tom Clancy, anything can happen I guess. You know if you continue his character in any shape or form, I’m all for it because honestly, I had the time of my life. It’s one of the best jobs, from start to finish. And I will always be grateful for it. It was just one of those concerts. I’m so thankful, and it’s the coolest name ever!
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. and it took place before the SAG-AFTRA strike.
The fourth and final season of jack ryan now streaming on Prime Video.