"He’s pretty talented isn't he. I’m desperate to find something - a fault. It’s very annoying." Noomi Rapace is joking about her Jack Ryan co-star and executive producer John Krasinski.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo actress Rapace and Michael Kelly, best known as House of Cards' heavy Doug Stamper, are the major new additions for Jack Ryan's season two cast, which is coming to Amazon Prime Video on November 1.
And the duo are very clear about the number one reason they signed up for the show - John Krasinski.
The Office. Co-creator of Lip Sync Battle. Husband of Emily Blunt. A Quiet Place. And now the star of Amazon’s biggest blockbuster TV series, bringing Tom Clancy’s globetrotting CIA agent into 2019. It would be easy to be jealous of John Krasinski, if he wasn’t so darn good at what he does.
"It's not a front. He truly is one of the greatest persons I’ve ever met," says Kelly.
BT TV is spending a Sunday morning in the company of the Jack Ryan cast, discovering why season two is going to be top of your must-watch list this winter.
"And then you realise you're in Bogota"
Season two sees the action switch to South America, Russia and London and all that globetrotting has made the cast a tight group. We feel like intruders on a mini-reunion.
"To be in Bogota, that is not a place I ever imagined being for even 12 days, let alone 12 days. It was absolutely thrilling," says Krasinski.
"With all the different locations and the company of the actors and the company of the incredible crew, it brings you so much excitement to every day," adds Pierce.
The old cliches about returning to play a TV character and slipping into familiar habits don’t apply to Jack Ryan.
"It's hard to feel like it’s old hat because you’re travelling the world and going absolutely everywhere," says Krasinski. "You’re going to new places all the time which is a huge jolt of energy. To everybody. To be shooting in these remote locations, is incredible.
"And when you have people like Noomi and Michael jumping on and are in lockstep right from the beginning - it felt like we were old friends and had been working together forever. And then you realise you are in Bogota!"
Cocktails by the pool
Anyone concerned that the cast of Jack Ryan might have been worn out and exhausted from the impressive air miles and blockbuster stunts need not worry.
"We don’t need help building morale," chuckles Pierce. "We like to go out and drink clean!"
Pierce is the ringleader when it comes to the cast letting their hair down, so much so, father-of-two Krasinski struggles to keep up.
"I never thought I would be the 94-year-old on set, but this dude," he laughs.
"Every country we film in, we have a running joke about how after only 24 hours, this guy has found every single jazz bar, all the best restaurants, and somehow he even knows the name of the maître d'."
At one point, after suffering an on set injury, Krasinski did have to admit defeat and was consigned to his hotel room. But Pierce wasn’t going to let that stop them from having fun.
"I felt bad for John," laughs Wendell. "Noomi, Mike and myself and a few other cast members were down by the pool, having a blast and he was sat in his room looking out the window.
"And we were all shouting up, 'Oh we’re so sorry! Feel better soon!', taunting him with our glasses."
Krasinski reveals that one of the primary reasons he wanted to make the Jack Ryan series was so he could find 'his' Greer and he couldn’t be more happy with the final result.
"Wendell was my first choice and my first call. Not only had I seen everything he’d done and been a big fan, I'd heard nothing but the greatest things about him," he says.
"And it’s really fun. I’m flying around the world, I’m away from my kids, my family and my wife and you really do need a camaraderie aspect to this or it just becomes punch-in, punch-out, which you don’t want."
John Krasinski sorts out the casting personally
Season two of Jack Ryan was given the green light by Amazon before the first season had even been released. So new cast members were being signed up with very little sight of the series.
So what was it that persuaded Noomi Rapace and Michael Kelly to sign on? In the case of Noomi it was a dinner date with Krasinski.
"I met John in London, where we just talked for an hour about films and families and I just came away thinking - 'man, he’s so cool, I love him'," says Noomi.
"He said, if I came on board, I could help create and shape the character and I just called my team straight away and said, 'I’m in'.
After spending six years on House of Cards, Kelly said that the chance to do a single season of a show was "perfect".
"Having seen the pilot, I just thought, 'wow this looks like a film'," said Kelly. "It has incredible production values.
"And it was really a no-brainer, because of John."
Season two is personal, not political
The setting of season two - a politically volatile Venezuela - caused a stir when the trailer was released earlier this year.
But Krasinski and the cast insist that the the location is coincidental and isn’t intended as a statement on the current relations between the USA and the South American country.
"I think it’s just in keeping with how Tom Clancy wrote his books," says Krasinski.
"Tom Clancy, in my opinion, always acknowledged the time period that they were in. But I think they were removed from the specifics of that time period. The Hunt for Red October acknowledges the Cold War, but I don't think anyone would say that it was the most realistic, in the moment, ripped-from-the headlines book.
"It's characters set in the macro. The idea of setting, where you are geographically and where you are in time. It's nice for Jack to feel like a modern day hero, a current hero. But using Venezuela, as far as I'm concerned for Jack, I never saw it as anything political.
"We used it as a backdrop for sure. But the storyline really is a revenge story and trying to avenge a lost and fallen friend."
Michael Kelly said that the process had many similarities to House of Cards, which faced similar problems of keeping pace with the real world of politics.
"They write the series one year, they film it the next year and the next year it comes out. Roughly. And every season something would happen in real life just before the show dropped and people would go, 'oh it’s ripped from the headlines' and that simply wasn't the case. The world just happens," explains Kelly.
"You make a show in a certain place and we certainly weren’t making a comment on Venezuela."
The final word on the matter goes to Pierce.
"Every day there are people getting up, trying to keep their families together and make a living, keep their home together, in the midst of these geopolitical conflicts," he says.
"Hopefully we get to the personal side of it. How we, our characters, interface with someone else, a community in a vulnerable position and bring the resources we have to try and help them. We try to show the human side to the story in the middle of the tumult all around it."
Extremely handsome villains
Every great Jack Ryan needs an equally dastardly villain. And in Spanish actor Jordi Mollà, the Amazon series has found the perfect antagonist for Krasinski's wholesome hero.
"It's really hard to play the bad guy and play it believably and not do it arch," says Krasinski.
"It was incredible to get a guy like Jordi come in who can really fill that need. It’s the biggest need and focus for the show - it’s what is driving Jack, it’s where we’re all heading and it’s the whole direction of the show."
Krasinski also learnt a valuable lesson from his screen adversary.
"He's not a big fan of doing stunts and fight sequences," he says.
"I felt sorry for him because there are a couple of times where things got really physical and he was very clear - let’s not slam my head here. This was clearly a guy who has done a lot of action, because he knows what he's doing. I'm only just learning this now. Oh, so we don't have to slam my head on the table."
Pierce was particularly impressed by Mollà, but revealed that the pair didn't have the warmest of starts together on set.
"He was very, very intense. The scenes that I had with him were all incredibly intense. At the end of the shoot, I thought, 'let him have his space'. Allow him to do his work. We didn't interact at all," said Pierce.
"But the moment, the second, we knew we had finished working together, he turned to me and we just talked about the craft of acting for half an hour, he talked about all our scenes together and all of a sudden it was like he was my best friend.
"That’s one of the incredible things about this show, meeting actors of his calibre, coming on board from around the world."
However, there was one slight problem with the casting of Mollà.
"He is extremely handsome, which is very jarring," jokes Krasinski. "I had to tell him, 'I’m supposed to be the lead of this show and you are very, very handsome'."
Season three clues?
We don't want to give away any spoilers, but the final moment of Jack Ryan season two is a lingering shot of the White House.
Could a future season of Jack Ryan swap globetrotting for an examination of the dramas and tensions closer to home in US politics? Michael Kelly doesn’t think so.
"The coolest thing about Jack Ryan is that it could happen anywhere," reflects Kelly.
"That’s the coolest thing for the audience and the coolest thing for the creators working on the show. You don’t know where the story is going to take you. This show could take you anywhere in the world.
"So I don’t know anything about season three, but I doubt it would happen in DC. And the last thing I would want to do is comment on the current happenings in Washington - apart from on my own person Twitter feed anyway."
How to watch Jack Ryan season 2
BT TV customers can watch Jack Ryan on the Amazon Prime Video app.
Amazon Prime Video has an incredible library of classic TV series and movies - plus award-winning acclaimed Amazon Originals including The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, The Boys and Good Omens.
Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock/Todd Williamson/January Images/Amazon Prime Video