Paramount was hot to trot with Chris Pine post-'Star Trek.' Shortly after that film opened big, he was attached to be the next Jack Ryan as part of the Tom Clancy franchise that has currently spawned four entries and had three previous Ryans. But now the project is in major jeopardy.

The planned film has lost its director, veteran TV helmer Jack Bender, according to Variety and the departure of Bender could signal the end of Pine's involvement. In 2009 it made sense to sign Pine to a number of projects as he was the lead in 'Star Trek,' which was an audience favorite. Since then Pine has appeared in 'Unstoppable' (aka "a missile the size of a Chrysler Building" movie) and 'This Means War,' neither of which made much of a commotion at the box office. And when taking on a memorable role like Captain Kirk it can leave such an impression with audiences that they don't want to see the actor as anything else.

Paramount wanted to start production on the new Ryan film shortly after Pine finishes 'Star Trek 2,' but if they just lost their director, it means they'll either sign someone quickly or the project's been scuttled (for now). It's hard to imagine Paramount giving up on such a malleable franchise in this era of franchise filmmaking.

David Koepp - who's helped finish scripts like 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' and 'Men in Black III' - was brought on to write a draft, but there's been little motion lately. Perhaps they never found a good story?

Jack Bender was one of the main directors on 'LOST,' having helmed almost a third of the series' run, and is currently working on 'Alcatraz.' He's also directed episodes of 'The Sopranos' and 'Alias,' though his theatrical resume consists of 'Lone Justice 2,' 'Child's Play 3," and 'A Real Naked Lady.' He left the project because his television assignments are keeping him too busy, which seems like a "dog ate my homework" level excuse. What I'm saying is: don't most TV directors still want to make movies?