Published: Wednesday, 21 December 2022 14:28 | Written by Jamie Ruby
Today, the highly anticipated third season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan returns to Prime Video. The series stars John Krasinski in the title role. In season three, he is working as a case officer for the CIA in Rome when he gets a tip that the Sokol Project is being resurrected more than fifty years after it was thought to have been shut down, and they are trying to restore the Soviet Empire. Jack goes on a mission to confirm the truth, but is wrongly implicated in a murder conspiracy, accused of treason, and hunted, forced to flee from his own government and others.
Actresses Betty Gabriel and Nina Hoss join the cast this season as CIA Rome Station Chief Elizabeth Wright, and Alena Kovac, president of Czechia, respectively. The two talked to SciFi Vision recently about what they connected with right away with their characters, and how they prepared.
Gabriel talked about her character’s intelligence, grace, and dignity, and the pressure she is under. “She has a boss too, and that's a very interesting layer that I really can tap into,” the actress told the site.
“She has the guts to follow her instincts and not [listen] to anyone else,” said Hoss about her character, who also talked to the site about leaning on the script and her father being a politician in German Parliament for eight years growing up. “As a child,” she added, “I kind of entered that world through him and kind of got to learn about the back world of politics that you see in public and how things are being discussed and actually decisions come to fruition and all of that.”
Gabriel, on the other hand, talked to SciFi Vision about having conversations with a real former CIA officer. “[She] is also a young black woman,” said the actress, “and it was so rewarding and so useful to hear her stories and to hear how her background, her upbringing, and her exposure to other cultures was such an asset for her in within the organization, and all the challenges that she's faced being in this predominantly white male organization.”
For more, watch our portion of the interview and read the full roundtable transcript below, and be sure to watch season three of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, now available to stream on Prime Video.
QUESTION:Nina, this question is for you. Fans have been waiting for another season, another run, another outing with Mr. Jack Ryan. Has it hit you yet how excited the fans are to finally have another season? It's been a minute.
NINA HOSS:I know. It's taken a bit, but to be honest, I'm as excited as they are, I guess. They're in for a good ride, because it's very fast paced. It's lots of action, but there's also some really good character study in this. You can get close to the characters, I hope, and you get to feel for them. So, you really root for them, and they have to make very fast-paced decisions along the way. It's just a very, very exciting season, at least from my perspective; it was amazing to be working on it.
QUESTION:Were you guys familiar with Jack Ryan? Season one and two, did you watch them before you were cast in the show at all?
NINA HOSS:I watched them, yeah. I had seen season one and two and was very drawn into it and the entertainment side of it, but also, like I said before, you get very close to the characters, the ones that enter each season, but of course mainly the three guys that lead you through this Jack Ryan universe, which is so exciting. So, to fight to actually get to be part of it was somewhat mind blowing, really.
BETTY GABRIEL:…I wasn't familiar with this series, but I did grow up with Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan. But what I love about John Krasinski as Jack Ryan and these series is that it's very obviously modernized, but there's a sense of just familiarity that I think you can have in an everyday [man]. It's a different everyday man; like Harrison Ford has his everyday man, but he still feels very just like of a piece and of a time, and John Kaczynski feels like he is my neighbor or like my friend from college. He just has a very sort of different everyday feel. The series just allows for more time to delve into other characters and their worlds, and that's a gift, I think, for us as well as the audience.
SCIFI VISION:What was it particularly about each of your characters that you connected with right away when you read the scripts, for both of you?
BETTY GABRIEL: I really connected with this woman's need to be on and need to be - I don't want to use any descriptive, but she's got a very tough job, and I think she does [it] with very much, obviously, intelligence, but grace and dignity, I hope. But within that, on top of that, we see the pressure that she has, because she has a boss too, and that's a very interesting layer that I really can tap into.
NINA HOSS:For me, I mean, I play the president of Czechia, so a politician who probably had had a past in politics, and then we meet her at the point where she's on the top of her game, and she's very calm, collected, very intelligent, witty, a fun person in a way. Then, at the very beginning, as it should happen in the Jack Ryan universe, something happens and her whole world blows apart, and not only what she actually has to get to grips with, whatever decision she is making, potentially has the outcome of a third world war. So, the stakes are very high this time. And the way she's been written and what on a personal level is being thrown at her at the same time, and how she deals with it and how she handled herself – like Betty says, I hope my character also has this kind of dignity and strong mindedness that she makes the right decisions at the right time, because she has the guts to follow her instincts and not [listen] to anyone else. That I really loved about the character.
QUESTION:Nina, will we be seeing you speak Czech?
NINA HOSS:…The thing is, I learned the whole part in Czech, [laughs] but then it turned out that the decision was we were going to do it all in English. So, I have it all in me. It was quite a challenge, because I think it's the most difficult language you can get into your mouth, but through working on that, that helped me so much to learn about Czechia about the people that I am the president of, and I want to do justice to that. So, it was worth the while, but you won't hear me speaking Czech.
QUESTION:Betty, I love your work, and you often play a lot of characters and have stature, I think would be a good way to describe it, and a lot of importance when playing a character like this or similarly. What is important to you as an actor or as a storyteller, that you go - maybe it's a checkbox of things that you look for? Or is it one particular thing that has to draw you in immediately to decide that you want to commit your time to it as an actor, as this being your profession?
BETTY GABRIEL:Well, thank you for the compliment, and to answer your question, I will say that I do like a challenge. Yes, I've played characters like this, and that actually gave me pause before accepting the job, because I wasn't sure if I wanted to sort of retread familiar territory for myself. But what I thought was going to be so satisfying about this world, coming into this world, coming into this role, is that it would be a chance to really kind of be put in this pressure cooker having to just be so - forgive the word - intelligent. [laughs] Working for the CIA, she has to be very intelligent. She has a lot of information and intelligence gathered, and she just has to drive through and drive the story that she's a part of. Yeah, within that, there's all this going here, going there. There's just like a lot that you have to sort of commit to, to know that you can be this person who is in charge. She also has this pressure from above her, and that's really compelling too, because I definitely know what it's like to have that pressure, to be questioned, to be perhaps seen or dismissed, potentially, as incompetent, and potentially fired and not given the benefit of the doubt. So, there was a lot to really be stretched and challenged by.
QUESTION:Betty, you've gotten the chance to star and two things I consider to be immensely underrated, Upgrade and Counterpart, and I wish more people would have seen them and talked about them at the time. Do you think getting to play those characters in those shows and movies has prepared you to play Elizabeth Wright in Jack Ryan a little more with all the twists and turns?
BETTY GABRIEL:Absolutely, and I definitely drew from certain parts of those characters and that world, that intensity, having to come in and just really crank up the intensity without actually having it on set. You know, like, we're not actually dealing with a nuclear bomb. We're having to create that from thin air, and that can be challenging. So, I did feel like those projects prepared me for this, and I feel very fortunate to be a part of those projects. I hope that one day people will also have the privilege of seeing them, especially Upgrade. I love that.
SCIFI VISION:So, both of your characters obviously have really important jobs in different ways. Can you sort of talk about specifically the prep and the research side of it that you both did to kind of fill those shoes?
NINA HOSS:Well, I was basically lucky enough, from my background, my father was a politician. So, [he] was in Parliament, in the German parliament for eight years. And as a child, I kind of entered that world through him and kind of got to learn about the back world of politics that you see in public and how things are being discussed and actually decisions come to fruition and all of that. So, I was basically more leaning on the script, to be honest, because it was so well written, my character, on a personal level. But also, how she was portrayed as a politician and how she deals with all the men that are entering her office, basically, how she handled them informed me of what kind of a [politician she is]. I thought she was a very good politician, because she’s highly intelligent; she knows a lot, but she also can draw from her instinct, and she relies on her instinct. When I see the women out there that are in politics and that may be also helming nations, they have that kind of quality. They also have a very specific personality to themselves that no one can rattle off on. [laughs] So, I wanted to give that to Alena.
BETTY GABRIEL:I had the honor of having many conversations with a former CIA officer, who is also a young black woman, and it was so rewarding and so useful to hear her stories and to hear how her background, her upbringing, and her exposure to other cultures was such an asset for her in within the organization, and all the challenges that she's faced being in this predominantly white male organization. So, yeah, I was really fortunate to have her as a resource. I was introduced to her by Wendell Pierce, who was an extraordinary person to have as a resource as well.
QUESTION:Betty, this is set in beautiful Budapest. Talk about some of your favorite places to film.
BETTY GABRIEL:Definitely Budapest. Budapest is a lot of fun, even though when we first got there, when I first got there, I'm sure when you did, too, there was an eight o'clock curfew.
NINA HOSS:Oh, yeah.
BETTY GABRIEL:Nothing was open. It was really stark, [laughs] and I was like, "I don't know about this food." But by the end of it, I had so much fun. They had a Christmas market, and the restaurants were all open. They have all these outdoor bars and restaurants. It's just a really fun city. But I did really love Vienna too. I just didn't get to spend too much time there, but it's a beautiful city that feels like it's in the clouds, [laughs] so creamy and white, all the buildings. It's beautiful. Yeah, I'm really lucky. We were really lucky that we got to travel the world on this one job.