Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Jack Ryan: Wendell Pierce & Michael Kelly Are Divided Over Filming Back-To-Back Seasons - Exclusive Interview

One man alone can't save the world from terrorists and bio-weapons. Jack Ryan (John Krasinski) may be a top-tier CIA analyst who has stopped untold calamities in the past, but he has plenty of people watching his back and keeping him in line. Now, they all get to come together for one last mission to keep the bad guys at bay when "Jack Ryan" Season 4 makes its way to Prime Video. 

The fourth season will consist of six episodes spread out across three weeks, so fans better get ready for high-octane intensity coming to their screens every Friday for the foreseeable future. In addition to Krasinski showing off his action training, he's aided by Wendell Pierce playing James Greer, one of Jack's CIA partners who's been stationed all over the globe, risking his CIA future along the way. There's also Michael Kelly as Mike November, who was introduced in Season 2 and has remained a steadfast ally in the fight against terror. Both Pierce and Kelly are great actors who shine in supporting roles across film and television, but they really get to show off their chops in "Jack Ryan."

In an exclusive interview with Looper, the two actors spoke about their time on the show and how they felt seeing it come to an end. That includes the joys and difficulties of being part of a show that films in other countries.

Working on Jack Ryan Season 4 through COVID

This is the fourth and final season of "Jack Ryan." Knowing that this was the end, were the vibes any different on set compared to the previous seasons you've worked on?

Michael Kelly: Yeah, when on [Season 3], we were COVID. [Season 4], we were still COVID. That was tough, working in COVID.

Wendell Pierce: Also, we expanded the show to multi-levels of what we do best on the show, which is action and putting together the thriller, the thrill ride, and the humanity of the actual people involved. It's a human story. We took everything to another level with all of those aspects: the humanity in the story, the thriller aspect of the story and the intelligence itself, and then the action. The action is really nice.

Kelly: Also, knowing that it was it [ending] ... There was definitely a different vibe on set, knowing that this was our last. It wasn't like it was decided after the fact; we knew going into it. Every time you did something, you're like, "That was the last time I'm going to do that. That's the last time I'm going to do that. That's the last time I'm going to fly a helicopter. That's the last time I'm going to fly a plane." It's hard. It's hard to say goodbye. That's something you love so much. It's very hard.

You mentioned the action. Given how intense and action-oriented "Jack Ryan" can be, can you talk about any scenes or stunts in Season 4 that were particularly tough or exciting for you to do?

Pierce: I have one in particular. I'm not going to give it away — you'll see it when it happens. It was fun to do, and it was cold. That's all I'm going to say.

Kelly: It's tough to say without giving any spoilers away, but let's just say that Mike definitely sees some action again. For me, every time I do [stunts], it's like the 14-year-old in me comes out. It's like, "Let's go. It's time to rock and roll." It's fun, and I love that s***.

The advantages and disadvantages of filming Seasons 3 and 4 back to back

Season 3 aired in December last year. Now we're already getting Season 4. What was the turnaround like to go from these seasons pretty much back to back? Did it make it easier on you guys to stay in your characters' headspaces?

Pierce: Yeah. There was no turnaround. We shot them consecutive —

Kelly: During Christmas ... [a] month and a half I think we took off in between at Christmas.

Pierce: It was straight through, back-to-back seasons. I was happy about it because we had the time off because of the pandemic, and I wanted to get back to it. I didn't mind the length of it. I'm happy that it's paying off with the fact that you don't have to wait two years to see us between seasons.

Kelly: The hardest part, at least for me, was leaving the family for that long. I have a wife; I have two young kids who, at the time, were 9. When I started in Season 2, they were 6 and 9 — they're going to be 14 and 11 this month. That time away, I'm never going to get back. I wouldn't change anything, but it was difficult to be away from your family for a year and a half. There were two six-week stints where I didn't see them. After three weeks, it gets really hard. In the fifth and sixth week, you're like, "F this. I got to get home."

But sometimes, with COVID, we got stuck. People would go down, and you'd have to be on standby to work because somebody tested positive, and there were 10 people around him, so those 10 people are out. That was the hardest part.

The first two episodes of "Jack Ryan" Season 4 are now available on Amazon Prime Video.

This interview has been edited for clarity.