Chris Pine Reveals His Politics Amid High-Risk 'Jack Ryan' Play
Star of a second franchise? Few have ever done it as the 'Star Trek' actor attempts to double down – all the while expressing doubts about fame, Hollywood friends, and President Obama's use of drones: "We crossed the line."
"They f---ing suck," he says. "The light of my flame was really bright after Star Trek [in 2009], and I had that bizarre convergence of everything's so intense for about a month, and then it died down. During that time, they're f---ing chasing you, and you're driving at speeds you shouldn't be driving at. Thankfully, I don't really have much of that anymore."
Outside of promoting his films, Pine has zero interest in being in the public eye. He has absolutely no use for social media.
"No, f--- no," he says emphatically. "What am I going to tweet about? My sneakers? Or, 'I have 140,000 friends on Facebook.' What does that even mean? I find it to be a waste of time. The Internet is so caustic; just a place where people get to spew nonsense and bullshit."
Instead, he consumes news the old-fashioned way, via newspapers, underlining important passages. It's a critical way of thinking honed during his college days at UC Berkeley, where he studied English literature. The well-read Pine demonstrates a nuanced understanding of civics.
By and large, there are two political camps in Hollywood: rah-rah Obama fans and the taxed-enough-already minority. Then there's Pine, who finds the whole left-right identification to be moronic. To Pine, Republicans and Democrats are interchangeable. He's quick to point out the erosion of privacy and the strengthening of the Patriot Act under President Obama.
"The head of our government can assassinate anyone, including an American citizen," he says. "We are striking countries with drones -- sovereign countries. What if Mexico decided to bomb San Diego because there was a drug cartel there?"
During a two-hour stretch with this reporter, Pine checked his iPhone exactly once -- to confirm the name of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who was killed in Yemen by a CIA-led drone strike.
"Was he an awful guy? Yeah. Was he plotting terrorism? Possibly. But we crossed the line by just outright assassinating him," he says.
Eschewing the Hollywood crowd, he has an eclectic social circle that includes friends from his youth, an ABC News journalist and an advertising exec. In fact, the only industry friend he can name is tentpole writer Mark Bomback (The Wolverine).
The two met on the set of Tony Scott's Unstoppable, which shot in parts of Ohio and Pennsylvania. They bonded over their shared interests in live music and highbrow culture (Pine can extol a Radiohead gig in the same breath as Hilary Mantel's Booker Prize-winning novel Wolf Hall, about the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII).
Says the 42-year-old Bomback, who also did some uncredited work on Jack Ryan: "It's weird because he's about 10 years younger than I am, and I have four children and live in a suburb of New York, and Chris is a bachelor somewhere in L.A. just chilling. But he has such a genuine engagement with the world and contemporary politics. With Jack Ryan, I think he saw an opportunity to bridge an ability to carry an action film with something that allowed you to think about the machinations of the world."
The film puts the young CIA analyst at the center of a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy. In fact, Pine only wishes that the film, which wrapped production in November 2012, could have been made in the wake of Edward Snowden's revelations about the surveillance of American citizens. Instead, the film -- which was moved from its Christmas Day spot to make room for Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street -- looks to capitalize on current events and escalating American-Russian tensions.
"It's crazy how much the world has changed in just a year," he says.