Why Robert Ritter From Without Remorse Looks So Familiar

Fans of Tom Clancy's novels and their respective cinematic adaptations are thrilled to finally see the origin story for John Clark brought to life in the Amazon Original, "Without Remorse." Based on Clancy's 1993 novel of the same name, "Without Remorse" tells the tale of how the wet work specialist Jack Ryan relies on to get things done became the cold, cynical operator fans know and love. Michael B. Jordan brings Clark to life in the latest incarnation of the character, having previously been played by Willem Dafoe, opposite Harrison Ford in "Clear and Present Danger," and Liev Schreiber, opposite Ben Affleck in "The Sum of All Fears." 

Along for the ride with Clark is another familiar Clancy character in Robert Ritter. Ritter is, perhaps, more familiar to fans of Clancy's novels than those of the film adaptations; while he's appeared in a handful of the Jack Ryan series of novels, he's only appeared in a single film, the aforementioned "Clear and Present Danger." The effective Henry Czerny brought Ritter to life as an antagonist to Ford's Jack Ryan, the arrogant and cynical CIA Deputy Director of Operations. But the "Without Remorse" version of Ritter seems a lot more capable and is actually the CIA officer who recruits Clark into the agency.

While the characterization of Ritter is a departure from how he's been portrayed previously, viewers should recognize the actor behind Ritter as Jamie Bell. In case you're not sure where you've seen him before, we've got you covered.

He played the title role in Billy Elliot

Jamie Bell made his acting debut in the title role of 2000's British drama "Billy Elliot," a film that told the tale of a young boy and his dream to be a ballet dancer. The film is set during the mid-1980s in the fictional town of Everington in the working class area that is County Durham in North East England, with a coal-mining strike as a historical backdrop. Billy, who lives with his father, Jackie, brother, Tony — both miners — and his paternal grandmother, finds an interest in ballet after he failed to take to the boxing classes in which his father enrolled him. Fearing the stigma associated with being a professional male dancer in that era, Jackie forbids Billy from participating in ballet, but when has a father's proscription ever kept an enthusiastic young boy from following his heart?

Bell was chosen from among "thousands of kids," Stephen Daldry, director of "Billy Elliot," said in an interview with IndieWire. "We were looking for something quite specific; the kids had to come from a very specific geographic area (for the accents) as well as a dance background," he told the outlet, calling the casting process "a chore." Daldry said they didn't know Bell was the one until "Right at the last minute, but he'd been there all the way through."

Bell won the 2001 award for best Actor in a Leading Role from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

Bell worked alongside Charlie Hunnam in Nicholas Nickleby

Two years later, Jamie Bell appeared as a supporting character in "Nicholas Nickleby" alongside Charlie Hunnam, who took on the title role in the adaptation of Charles Dickens' "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby." The film tells the tale of the title character's coming of age, forced to move to London with his family and take care of his mother and younger sister following his father's sudden death in their home of pastoral Devon. Along the way, Nicholas befriends Smike, a crippled servant boy who works at the boarding school that hires Nicholas on as a tutor. Witnessing the abuse taking place at the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Squeers, who run the school, Nicholas departs and takes Smike along with him.

"Nicholas Nickleby" fared well with critics; it's Certified Fresh on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 78%. The critical consensus mentions the "strong cast of experienced actors and director Douglas McGrath's steady hand" as praiseworthy. The film received the National Board of Review Award for Best Ensemble Cast and was nominated for the 2002 Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Jamie Bell was in Snowpiercer

Following roles in 2008's "Jumper" and "Defiance," as well as a turn in 2011's "Jane Eyre," Jamie Bell appeared in 2013's sci-fi smash-hit "Snowpiercer." Starring Chris Evans as protagonist Curtis, the dystopian action thriller tells of a proletarian uprising aboard the Snowpiercer, a class-segregated train that carries the remnants of human civilization after the Earth is plunged into a new ice age following failed attempts to reverse global warming trends. Urged on by his mentor Gilliam, (John Hurt), and supported by his unofficial second-in-command, Edgar (Bell), Curtis leads a revolt under the belief that all of the guards' weapons are empty of bullets, with all of them having been expended during previous insurrections. Curtis and his followers pay heavy costs and learn heartbreaking truths on their way to the front of the titular train.

Directed by Bong Joon-Ho — who made history at the 2020 Academy Awards with "Parasite," the first South Korean film to be nominated, winning Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay — "Snowpiercer" enjoys rarefied air on Rotten Tomatoes with an enviable 94% critics score and is listed among the top 100 science fiction films tracked by the site.

He played Ben Grimm/The Thing in the 2015 Fantastic Four movie

In 2015, Jamie Bell worked with Michael B. Jordan for the first time on the ill-fated "Fantastic Four" reboot. Following a dismal-but-improved critical showing by the 2007 sequel to 2005's "Fantastic Four," 20th Century Fox decided to give the first family of Marvel Comics a fresh start. The second origin story of the titular team, 2015's "Fantastic Four" showed a much darker side of the heroes than is typically depicted. In addition to tonal shifts, the origin of the characters' powers was changed from exposure to cosmic rays in outer space — which is canon in the Marvel Comics source material — to side effects from teleporting to another dimension through a Quantum Gate.

Another change for the project was the main cast: Miles Teller took over the role of Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic, from Ioan Grufford, who held the role in the two previous films; Michael B. Jordan took over the role of Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, from Chris Evans; Kate Mara undertook the role of Sue Storm, aka the invisible Woman, previously held by Jessica Alba; and Jamie Bell took on the mantle of Benjamin Grim, aka the Thing, a role Michael Chiklis had brought to life in the first two "Fantastic Four" films. 

It was all for naught, however. Despite the Fantastic Four's immense comic book popularity, the films have all fared poorly. The first, in 2005, has a dismal 27% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. While the sequel, subtitled "Rise of the Silver Surfer," improved 10 points to 37%, it was still panned. The 2015 "Fantastic Four" reboot set the low-water mark with a 9% critics score. The silver lining to the reboot is that Jamie Bell is now married to and has a child with co-star Kate Mara.

He played Bernie Taupin in Rocketman

Following a handful of other projects, Jamie Bell took on the task of bringing a real person to life on the big screen with 2019's biopic, "Rocketman." The film stars Taron Egerton as Sir Elton John, telling the story of the British musical superstar's early career and rise to global fame. Bell took on the role of songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, the artist's long-time collaborator and the lyricist responsible for the words to most of Elton John's songs. 

As the story goes, when a young Reginald Dwight decides to become a famous performer, he took on the name Elton John. When he's introduced to Taupin, the two move in together to write songs collaboratively. As Elton John becomes one of the most successful performers of the 1970s, he also becomes addicted to multiple substances as a result fo his abusive relationship with lover and manager John Reid, with his behavior alienating those close to him, including Taupin.

Taking on the role of Taupin in "Rocketman" became something of a reunion for Bell. Lee Hall, who wrote the film, also wrote "Billy Elliot" and adapted it for the live stage with Elton John, at which time Bell met the legendary artist, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "It just felt written in the stars somehow that I would portray his best mate, Bernie," Bell told the outlet in 2019.