Gates McFadden appeared as Dr. Cathy Ryan in The Hunt For Red October, and she explains her disappointment at not continuing on to star in the Jack Ryan sequel films. McFadden is currently starring in Star Trek: Picard season 3, reprising her iconic role as Dr. Beverly Crusher alongside the full cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But while TNG was still on the air in 1990, McFadden had a brush with the burgeoning Jack Ryan movie franchise with her cameo at the start of The Hunt For Red October.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant about Star Trek: Picard season 3 and season 2 of her podcast, InvestiGates: Who Do You Think You Are?, Gates McFadden was asked about her brief appearance as Cathy Ryan in The Hunt For Red October, and how disappointing it was Gates didn’t continue in the Jack Ryan sequel films. Read her response below:
Oh, me too. But that was Alec Baldwin. He asked for too much money, and they said no. But I was supposed to. I would have gone on and done the second movie. That’s why it was a tiny part in the first one, but it was going to be a bigger part in the second one. But then they just said [to Alec], “Nope, we’re not paying you that money.” And they went and they cast Harrison Ford, so they couldn’t have the same woman playing his wife. That hurt.
Harrison Ford Replacing Alec Baldwin As Jack Ryan Explained
Gates McFadden only appeared for a moment and uttered a few lines at the start of The Hunt For Red October, but she still goes down in movie history as the first actress to play Dr. Cathy Ryan, a role that has since been portrayed in film and TV by Anne Archer, Bridget Moynahan, Keira Knightley, and Abbie Cornish. However, McFadden’s recollection that Alec Baldwin didn’t reprise Jack Ryan in 1992’s Patriot Games because he “asked for too much money” isn’t the reason Baldwin gave as to why Harrison Ford took over the role.
In 2011, Baldwin wrote a column for the Huffington Post where he told his side of losing the Jack Ryan role, after years of telling “a half-truth about scheduling conflicts.” Baldwin explained that Paramount “cut his throat” because they owed a famous “actor a large sum of money for a greenlit film that fell apart,” and “pushing me aside would help to alleviate that debt and put someone with much greater strength at the box office than mine in the role.” Baldwin is referring to why Paramount gave the Jack Ryan role to Harrison Ford in Patriot Games. However, Paramount executive David Kirkpatrick refuted Baldwin’s claim, saying that Baldwin “withdrew from... Patriot Games, over an issue of script approval.”
Interestingly, Gates McFadden adds a third rationale for why Alec Baldwin’s version of Patriot Games, which would also have seen Gates return as Cathy Ryan, never happened. McFadden still regrets losing the part, which would have given her a lead role in a film franchise before the TNG films kicked off with Star Trek Generations in 1994. However, Gates McFadden is doing some of her career-best work in Star Trek: Picard season 3.
More: Picard’s Dr. Crusher Is The Beverly We’ve Been Waiting For
Star Trek: Picard Season 3 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.