Growing up, Michael B Jordan always dreamed of being in an espionage thriller.

In his impressive and varied career, including as a boxer in Creed, a challenger to the king in Marvel's Black Panther and a human rights lawyer in Just Mercy, he had not quite ended up in the kind of action role he loved so much in his youth.

Now that dream has come true, with an adaptation of Tom Clancy's 1993 novel Without Remorse, directed by Stefano Sollima, the filmmaker behind cult crime drama Gomorrah.

He plays elite Navy Seal John Kelly, who is seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife, when he finds himself inside a much larger conspiracy that threatens to engulf the United States and Russia in an all-out war.

"I'm a little play fiend, a little action junkie," 34-year-old Jordan admits as he reflects on diving into his high-octane role.

"So as a kid, these are the movies that I watched, that I always wanted to be in one day.

"So the fact that I actually had opportunity to train and do the majority of my stunts, and had an incredible stunt team that allowed us to train at high intensity, so when we were able to show up on the day, able to do the things that we needed to do, it was fun.

"We got banged up throughout the process but it was so worth it."

This involved some particularly intense underwater action, which required advanced training in managing breathing.

"We hooked up with some military divers, and we spent time in the tanks where they put us under stressful situations where we would have to problem solve, work through malfunctions and gear failure.

"But I'm a water baby, I love being in a water. And honestly, if you're calm and you're sitting still, you can hold your breath for a lot longer."

Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell, 35, who plays CIA operative Robert Ritter, also grew up with this kind of old-school spy thriller, but was concerned with how the filmmakers would make this one feel modern.

"Tom Clancy is most associated with those late 80s and 90s movies, like The Hunt For Red October (starring Sean Connery) and Patriot Games and Clear And Present Danger (both starring Harrison Ford), which are all films that I grew up on and enjoyed watching on Channel 4 with commercials.

"But there is something to me that I associated with the 90s a little bit, so it feels a little dusty in a way. So how do you blow off that dust and reinvigorate this franchise? You put an actor at the centre, who is very now, who is very current, who is kind of solid action movie star, and Michael is all those things.

"And also bring in a director who has this incredibly authentic, gritty lens in all of his works.

"The pairing of all of those things just felt incredibly exciting to me. And then you think of John Kelly as a character, and how he could be changed, what he could look like in 2021, to me that was really important as well.

"When you think about 90s action movies, especially when there's espionage or the CIA or things like that, it's not particularly diverse at all," he says, pointing to the inclusion of Queen & Slim actress Jodie Turner-Smith in the film, who plays Seal team member Lieutenant Commander Karen Greer.

"She is representing not only women in the armed forces, but women of colour in the armed forces.

"She goes toe-to-toe, beat-for-beat and is in fact their commanding officer, and I think that that is incredibly important, and definitely shifts the perception of the kind of Clancy universe in a more positive, forward-thinking progressive way."

Turner-Smith, 34, is very conscious of how important that kind of representation is on screen, and how rare it is to see black women in the military in film and television.

"The idea of playing a lead against Michael B Jordan, another black actor, in something based on a Tom Clancy novel, I found that very exciting and I think a lot of other people might find that very exciting too," she says.

"Why not be a part of this fictional normalising of it? To be fair, the military are trying to finally open up for women and entertain those possibilities. But I think we still have some ways to go before we're going to have women in certain roles.

"So it's cool to normalise it in in film and television. I mean, why not?

"Women are capable of so much. I know this for a fact. I can speak on it. My body can speak on it."

She is not exaggerating. Turner-Smith, who will soon be seen playing Anne Boleyn in a new Channel 5 series, was actually pregnant with her first child when she made the film (she shares a baby daughter with husband Joshua Jackson) and admits that "added a level of intensity" to the action.

"I'm used to feeling like I'm a strong person, I'm an athletic person and I can push my body to the limit," she says.

"My first big role on television was a show called The Last Ship, where I was running around, getting the bad guys, jumping in and out of stuff, getting exploded, so I thought this was something that I was definitely ready to throw my body into.

"But nobody really tells you all that your body is going to go through. I've trained for many things in my life, but what was required of me physically with carrying this baby and doing this film is unlike anything that I have ever experienced."

Tom Clancy's Without Remorse is on Amazon Prime Video.