Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit Covert Espionage Experience Event
In anticipation of the Blu-ray release of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Home Theater Forum was invited to a press event in downtown Los Angeles on June 3rd. This event, the Covert Espionage Experience, involved a number of journalists including myself in an operation where we were assigned targets for surveillance out on the streets near the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. The journalists, or “recruits”, were split into three groups, each performing covert surveillance on different individuals who met up at different points along the way during the exercise.
The event began at the Marriott Hotel, where we attended a roughly 90 minute briefing on “Surveillance 101” as led by Luke Bencie of Security Management International (SMI), and introduced by Jon Monett and Michael Sulick. Once we had the basics down of how an ABC group formation can keep eyes on a moving target, we were broken up into our three separate group. I was assigned to the group led by Michael Pastirik of SMI (and formerly of the CIA). We were issued walkie-talkies and surveillance headsets, and then ventured forth onto the sidewalk by L.A. Live to follow our target from there to FIDM and back. Following the conclusion of our exercise, all the various instructors gathered together to answer a few informal questions from the journalists.
The following video should provide a good overview of both the initial briefing and of the Q&A that followed our “operation”:
Following the exercise and the Q&A, I was also given the opportunity to conduct interviews with actor Nonso Anozie, and with retired CIA operative Marti Peterson and retired CIA Director of the National Clandestine Service (NCS) Michael Sulick.
My discussion with Nonso Anozie didn’t cover much about Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, as his character only appears briefly. But I did take the time to ask him questions about his work on stage as King Lear (the youngest man to play the role), and his work with directors Sir Kenneth Branagh and Joe Wright. We didn’t have a lot of time to talk, but we did manage to get into his work in Atonement, where he participated in what may be the longest Steadicam shot in history.
My discussion with Marti Peterson and Michael Sulick was a bit more general, covering their reaction to the way the Jack Ryan films as a whole deal with the idea of an analyst as operative.
Looking at the event in total, this was an interesting way to immerse journalists into the world of covert operations and surveillance – a way to quite literally walk in the shoes of CIA recruits for a few hours. On behalf of Home Theater Forum, I thank Paramount, SMI and everyone involved for inviting us to the event. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 10th.
Interested readers can check out a promotional website that may give them a taste of the Covert Espionage Experience themselves: http://www.shadowrecruittraining.com
Photos on this page were taken by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Paramount Home Media Distribution/AP Images. Clips provided courtesy of Paramount Home Media Distribution. The names of the participants may or may not correspond with one of their actual identities...