John Hoogenakker on his role in 'Jack Ryan': "Matice lives in a world very different from the one Ryan inhabits"

As Matice, John Hoogenakker replaces John Clark who other wise plays Jack Ryan's darker alter ego, but Hoogenakker's Matice too has a lot to offer.


                            John Hoogenakker on his role in 'Jack Ryan': "Matice lives in a world very different from the one Ryan inhabits"

From drama to comedy, film, acclaimed television series, and on stage, John Hoogenakker has made a name for himself over the years bringing vivid, dynamic characters to life on screen. This year Hoogenakker can be seen appearing on Amazon’s highly anticipated drama series 'Jack Ryan' opposite John Krasinski.

The series follows up-and-coming CIA analyst Jack Ryan (Krasinski) who is thrust into a dangerous field assignment for the first time and uncovers a pattern in terrorist communication that launches him into the middle of a dangerous mission with a new breed of terrorism. Hoogenakker shines as Matice, a tough and salty American who works black ops for the CIA.

Aside from 'Jack Ryan' Hoogenakker was most recently seen with a major recurring role throughout season 3 of USA’s critically acclaimed drama series 'Colony' opposite Sarah Wayne Callies and Josh Holloway. Additional recent credits also include: 'The Girlfriend Experience,' 'Empire,' 'Chicago Fire,' and 'Boss.'

Hoogenakker plays the alter ego of Krasinski's 'Jack Ryan'. (IMDb)
Hoogenakker plays the alter ego of Krasinski's 'Jack Ryan'. (IMDb)

In an exclusive conversation with Meaww, Hoogenakker talks about his experience as Matice and a lot more.

How did you land the role of Matice for the upcoming Jack Ryan series? 

I taped for the role from Chicago. 

Matice does not appear in the original Jack Ryan franchise. As a character, he replaces John Clark. Do you think he will serve the same purpose as Clark?

It's true that the characters Matice and John Clark are separate entities, entirely. A similarity between the two in this version of the Jack Ryan universe would be that where an intuition begins with Ryan, it becomes active when Matice enters the picture. That said, when Jack Ryan is called to participate, he always rises to the challenge. 

Clark is often considered to be Ryan's darker alter ego. Will Matice fill up that same space? 

Matice lives in a world very different from the one Ryan inhabits. He goes from hotspot to hotspot performing the hands-on aspects of the missions. As a result of this steady stream of this intense and dangerous work, he is perhaps much quicker to respond with force than Ryan. It would also be fair to say that he's less equivocal in his responses to adversity than Ryan and that he sees his world in Black and White, whereas Ryan sees shades of gray. 

What should we expect from Matice and Ryan in the series? 

To Matice, Ryan seems at first to be a fish out of water; a pencil pusher ill-suited to the demands that he will likely be faced with on their first assignment together. As we know from previous iterations, however, Ryan's a man whose bravery and willingness to act when called often helps him accomplish extraordinary feats. This buys him credibility in the eyes of those around him, Matice included.

"To Matice, Ryan seems at first to be a fish out of water". (IMDb)
"To Matice, Ryan seems at first to be a fish out of water". (IMDb)

Could you give us a brief idea about Ryan's first field assignment and what will be Matice's role in it?

Ryan discovers a pattern in terrorist communications, and Matice is called in to aid in organizing and confronting the underlying threat. These communications span the globe and the two of them, along with James Greer (Wendell Pierce) must follow the threads to their source. 

You started off your career in the theatre. Could you tell us about your experience as an actor in the theatre? 

Though my first great love was Shakespeare (Hamlet, Valentino, Rodrigo et al), I've been blessed to also get to perform the works of Eugene O'Neill ('The Iceman Cometh,' as Willie Oban), Tracy Letts ('Killer Joe,' as Chris Smith) and Conor McPherson ('Port Authority,' as Dermot), as well as many others. A couple summers ago, I had the joy of working on a co-production with Writers' Theatre and The Second City on a play called 'Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf,' by Tim Sniffen. 

From theatre to TV, Hoogenakker has done it all. (IMDb)
From theatre to TV, Hoogenakker has done it all. (IMDb)

How different is acting in theatre than acting on camera?

Working on film requires you to know where you are in the context of a piece in a way that is very different from the linear experience of performing a play. Also, for me, the pressure to get it right is far greater for film because the rehearsal and the realization of the scene all happen in quick succession and within a matter of minutes or hours, all the while dozens of people are working off-camera to make it all come together in the timeliest possible fashion; depending on the theatre, you'll have weeks of rehearsals and previews in a safe and comparatively sedate environment in which to flesh out and fully discover the heart of your role, and your interactions with the world and people around you.

After opening, you get to run the rapids every night and then reflect on various moments and how you may want to approach them differently next time. Of course, audiences vary, as do the whims of your scene partners, so the experience is constantly evolving. Coming from that world, it has been challenging to walk away from a scene feeling like I gave it my best imaginable take. That said, the two disciplines are both deeply satisfying, for all their differences.