I can’t believe I’m about to do this but lately I can’t go to any message board or listserv without running headlong into people from the mystery community whining about Tom Cruise signing on to play Jack Reacher in Lee Child’s One Shot.
I rarely find myself in the position of defending anything Hollywood does, but this tempest over Tom Cruise as Reacher demonstrates a ignorance not only of the workings of the film industry (which I actually hope any decent person has a healthy ignorance of) but an ignorance of filmmaking in general that is so vast and astonishing that I am just going to have to use my blog post today to rant. I mean, get this out of my system.
We’re book people, people, we’re supposed to be smart. And yet what are people obsessing over about this casting? “Cruise can’t play Reacher, Reacher is 6’5”.”
That’s all we’re getting out of that character and those books?
And here I had this idea that action has something to do with character. That there’s something about an iconic character that has to do with essence and soul. I thought that Reacher’s brains and the fact that he’s a walking (literally) archetype – a modern and completely fucked up – I mean wounded – knight errant had something more to do with his charm than – inches. I thought the actual stories – the Mission Impossible-like intricacy of Reacher’s plans and the way he is constantly able to rally the most unlikely teams of misfits to accomplish hopelessly lost causes had a little to do with the appeal of the books.
As much as I am in total favor of the objectification of male bodies, preferably as often as possible, to me Reacher’s size and six-pack are completely incidental to the man. But people are posting photos of their picks to play Reacher that would launch me into the mother of all feminist rants if people were posting the equivalent photos of female actor choices for – oh, say, Clarice Starling, Jane Tennison, Jane Rizzoli, Elizabeth Bennet. It’s embarrassing.
Would any one of us really want any of those slabs of beefcake who were hulking around the Reacher Creature party last Boucheron to play Reacher? Really?
I have seen some perfectly idiotic casting choices floated on boards and lists, and no, I’m not going to name names, because those actors might actually be fine actors. Or something. But we are not talking about repertory theater, here.
The height thing aside (and height in Hollywood is relative), there’s a whole hell of a lot more to playing a role like Reacher than acting. We are talking about a mega-million dollar movie that is supposed to turn into a multi-billion dollar franchise. You don’t just need an actor for Reacher, you need a movie star. You need more than a star – you need someone who can carry the movie. And not just carry the movie, but carry the franchise.
Carrying a film is something more than acting. It’s not a very tangible thing. It has to do with being able to be present as a unique character but also letting the audience inhabit you. It’s about being the point of view character, a vehicle for the audience, and the film’s authorial voice, all rolled into one. It’s why movie stars are rarely as good actors as the character actors around them are, and why character actors are almost never able to play leads. A lead actor can be acting his heart out and the movie will still be dead on arrival because the actor isn’t doing that other essential intangible thing.
And the more action and special effects going on, the more important it is to have a lead who can carry all that action.
Those wonderful actors who seemed to be rising really fast and suddenly disappear and are never heard from again? Well, maybe they’re on the rehab circuit, but just as probably they were cast in a film that was supposed to be their big breakout and they just weren’t able to carry the film.
Carrying this movie is going to be ten million times more important than size. I can think of a couple of actors, good actors, who seem to me physically perfect for Reacher, who in fact work just fine as Reacher in those random Reacher fantasies, you know the ones I mean – but who I wouldn’t want to gamble on being able to carry this film.
Tom Cruise has been carrying movies consistently since he was 21 years old. Ironically, what all these size-obsessed complainers don’t seem to realize is that Tom Cruise is one of the only actors on the planet BIG enough to carry a franchise that big.
And anyone who thinks Tom Cruise can’t act should go rent Collateral, or Magnolia. Or Jerry Maguire. Tom Cruise is a hell of an actor. You don’t have a string of dozens of successful movies over thirty years, the majority of which have made over two hundred million dollars each, and more, worldwide, without having something going on. Or would you like to try to argue that that list of movies succeeded in spite of Cruise?
Moreover, he is a terrific action star. He is a superb athlete and known for training for weeks on end to get the physicality of every action he performs in a film exactly right. Do you think it’s easy even to fire a gun convincingly on screen, much less perform the kinds of stunts he routinely does in the Mission Impossible films (not that I’m a huge fan of those, but that has nothing to do with Cruise)?
What exactly do all these naysayers know about casting, anyway? Give a major actor some credit for knowing what he can and can’t play. No one thought Dustin Hoffman could make a convincing woman and he only got cast in Tootsie by making demo films of himself as Dorothy Michaels to convince the powers that be that he actually could do it. But he knew. And after the fact, can you imagine anyone else in that role?
Well, newsflash: Tom Cruise knows a whole hell of a lot better than a bunch of mystery readers what he can do. This is not a man in the habit of doing things badly. Will he pull if off? Maybe, maybe not. Think about it. Any time we sit down to write a book we think we just might be able to do it some meager form of justice and from there we work like dogs and pray like hell. What makes anyone think it’s any different for an actor?
But we are talking about one of the hardest working and most passionately dedicated actors in Hollywood. I’d lay down money that Tom Cruise has a better idea of who and what Jack Reacher is than the vast majority of these posters. Character is his job and he’s been doing it brilliantly for over 30 years.
He’s a seasoned and successful producer as well, which I’m not going to get into, but you better believe it’s good news for the movie.
But I will say it is stupefying to me that a community of readers and writers, in all this ranting, seem to be saying not one word about what could go wrong with the script. Josh Olson, the original adaptor (adapted and was Oscar-nominated for A History of Violence) is smart, passionate, angry, iconoclastic – I was excited that he was writing the script. Christopher McQuarrie, attached as director, is doing his own adaptation of the book now. He’s most famous for writing and winning the Oscar for The Usual Suspects. All sounds good, right? But there’s no guarantee here that what ends up on screen will have anything to do with the story we know from the book. Personally I would hate to see the incredible ensemble energy of this particular story, the way all the seemingly minor characters come together as an unlikely and sympathetic team, get eviscerated to showcase Reacher going it alone. But that’s an optimistic view of what could actually happen, story-wise.
Instead of bitching about Cruise, we should be on our knees lighting candles to the movie gods that whoever ends up in creative control of this film (and that can change radically in between now and the film’s release) doesn’t decide… oh, let’s say… that the stakes aren’t big enough, and get the bright idea to make the villains the joint heads of the entire Russian mafia who have decided to take over the US and to do so have acquired a nuclear warhead which Reacher will be forced to dismantle while simultaneously trying to rescue his long lost and hitherto unknown son or daughter or, hey, twin son and daughter– with the loyal help of the dog the executives gave him to make him more “relatable”.
Oh yeah, there is a whole lot that could go wrong with this film.
There also is a chance that a very smart movie could come out of this. And if it doesn’t, it’s not going to be because of Tom Cruise.
How about putting some energy into wishing for a great movie? It’s rare enough that that happens. Does everyone really want to jinx that with all this vitriol before they even start shooting?
Finally, let me just say this. Reacher fans are the last people who should be complaining. We can have Reacher in any form we want, every time we pick up one of the books. Cast at will. And I guarantee that not one of us sees him the same way. That’s the beauty of fictional characters.
But look, this is Murderati, we’re all friends, here. If you want to talk about who really should play Reacher, here’s your chance to do it. Share the fantasies. Go wild. Link to beefcake shots, or Youtube exotic videos, I’m not going to object. Or tell us some books-to-movies that were perfectly cast, and why.
So who do I see as Reacher? Lee Child. It is entirely mystifying to me that anyone could not think so. And there’s not a living actor in Hollywood who could come up to that level of brains and sexy. But it’s not going to happen, and it shouldn’t.
Let’s all just GET OVER IT.
Oh, and if there’s anyone left after all of that, The Unseen comes out in the UK this week, with maybe my favorite cover ever, it actually gave me a bad nightmare. Just don’t ask me who I’d cast.
You make some excellent points, and you provide a brilliant answer to the 'not big enough" argument. And, as the LORD OF THE RINGS movies have shown, (actor) size can be increased or decreased at will. My biggest problem with Cruise is not that he's too slight; it's that he's too PRETTY. Reacher may be sexy (at least all the female characters and damn near every female reader I've met seem to think so), but he's not pretty, and that IS part of the character.
But your final point is spot on…like all eagerly awaited films, this could be a great movie (FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING) , or it could be a huge disappointment (THE EXPENDABLES). Let's hope for the former.
Excellent post, Alex. As for the right look… yeah, your UK book cover has it.
Hey Dusty! I know what you're saying but arguably every actor in Hollywood, male or female, is too pretty for anything. Again, look at Collateral (which is a great movie, period). I didn't find Cruise pretty in that. He's finally old enough to be handsome, and not boyishly, anymore.
LOTR is a great example, I was actually going to talk about it but Squarespace has been giving me fits on this post.. But Elijah Wood KNEW he was Frodo and made videos of himself in furry feet and all to prove it to New Line. Actors are a lot smarter than almost anyone gives them credit for.
Hi Meg! I'm excited you think so, thanks!
Love the UK cover!!
All excellent points, Alex. While I wasn't thrilled with the choice to play Reacher, it had nothing to with his height. (My 6'7" cousin was an extra–one of the cops– in T2 and couldn't be shot in any frame with Arnold.) But you're absolutely right about the star power. There are a few who have it. Ideally, if Harrison Ford was 20 years younger, I would have loved to have seen him in the role. He's always been one of my favorites.
But when you mentioned Jerry Maguire, I totally got what you meant. Excellent "Rant" 🙂
Allison, again, we have the same brain. I would have seen Harrison Ford in ANYTHING 20 years ago, and I would have loved to have seen him as Reacher. But then again, I can pick up one of the books and have him as Reacher. There's nothing like reading!
Thanks, Alex. My thoughts exactly. (Apart from the brains/sexy bit.) I'm going to hire you to come on tour with me for the next twelve months. Best always, Lee
Hah – that's all the fantasy I need, Lee! I'm hoping EVERYONE knocks this one out of the park, but the books remain the books, and that's all I really care about.
Tom Cruise spoiled it for me by telling Matt Lauer how glib he is. But he's good enough an actor to bring it off.
My pick would be Matthew Fox (Jack on Lost), if he were still acting. Reacher says nothing a lot. I can see Matthew Fox in that kind of role. He also looks like he's been through a thing or two. I briefly thought of Keifer Sutherland, but that would be Jack Bauer playing Reacher.
I will, however, say that sometimes stature does matter. Joe Montegna was a far better choice as Spenser than Robert Urich, except Montegna doesn't look like he's ever seen the inside of a boxing ring. It was a big enough difference about a core part of the character that it distracted me.
Beauty book cover.
Alex, you've said it so well there's little to add. Actually for me it's pretty much zero. I will only put my name on the Lee Child-Lives-Love Letter, and just pass me the book if you don't mind — please. Of course I'll see the movie too. And I hope it's as fantastic as the book, but it won't be a book, will it?
Wow on that cover! Brilliant!
Alex, thank you. I was a doubter when I first heard Cruise was going to play Reacher, but when I thought about everything he'd bring to the movie — and the talent he'd attract to it — I realized he really could pull it all together and make it work. Instead of arguing with people, though, I'm just going to point them to your post — I think you said it all. 🙂
Excellent points you raise, Alex. I agree with you completely about COLLATERAL. Probably the best movie Cruise has made. His character was downright nasty, and Cruise played the part with nothing less than conviction. Even his hair was grey, adding to the air of grimness about that contract killer.
No suggestions as to who should play Reacher. But Tom Cruise could easily turn out to be the perfect choice. And if McQuarrie is the writer/director and allowed to do things his own way, then who knows? It's possible we'll have a really good, stylish movie to look forward to. (BTW, just ordered THE UNSEEN.)
Doesn't matter that Hollywood could fake Cruise's size. He's too well known as a short guy to carry it, regardless of his history in action roles. He's also too pretty and too slight. Credibility re size and bulk is important to Reacher's male fans.
Liam Neeson should be Reacher. End of.
I must admit I was very surprised about Tom Cruise….but he has shown himself to be quite flexible lately (Tropic Thunder) so I really am looking forward to see how it all plays out! It is kind of like waiting for a new Reacher novel to come out!
Tom Cruise please??? Reacher is 6'4" tall and built like a brickhouse thats Dwayne Johnson not Tom frickin Cruise!!!
Uh, in a word: wrong. The same way that the whiners you mention (also known as readers and fans) are ignorant of the movie making machine, this post smacks of someone who's too close to the machine and has forgotten what it's like just to want the entertainment and not care about the backroom deals. The fans who are writing about their concerns around the Internet truly love what Mr. Child has created. They've vested themselves with a lot of money and a lot of time in what Mr. Child's vision of Jack Reacher is. If no one was commenting, there would no doubt BE no movie because no one would care enough about it.
Reacher's physicality is part of his character. He walks in a room and his impact is felt just by his stature. He doesn't act tough or try to intimidate. Can Cruise do that? With the magic of Hollywood (camera angles, fellow actors, etc.) probably. When I read more Reacher books will I picture Cruise's face on Reacher? Not in a million frickin' years.
— just a fan
well said, however you will find yourself in the minority of people that like this idea of cruise playing reacher, and your opinions are as valid as the next person's, but one of the outstanding features of reacher is that he is 6'5" and is ane MP major, a position that with all the acting skills in the world mr cruise could never pull off, he just dosnt have the stature and presence.
I'm thinking Tom Berringer would be a great choice. Or Hugh Jackman
Alex: A damn fine post, and one hell of a rant. Way to kill two birds with one stone.
And congrats on that cover. There's no way to improve on that one, wow.
Like most people, Tom Cruise would not have been my first choice to play Reacher — like J.D. said, he's just a little too pretty boy for me, even at this stage in his career — but he's nowhere near my last choice, either. That he can play kick-ass was established long ago with Collateral, as you point out, so seeing him do Reacher as a wuss is not going to be a problem.
The thing is, and you sort of allude to this, people need to get a life if they're wasting their time posting online complaints about who Hollywood casts in what literary roles, because THERE AIN'T NO POINT. Hollywood will do what Hollywood wants with our most beloved fictional characters — Lee's unique option contract riders aside — and the sooner we resign ourselves to this fact, the better.
However, it should be said that someone like Lee is pretty much invulnerable to the damage a truly HORRIBLE Reacher movie could do to the series, but that's not necessarily the case with less established authors. Turn a mid-list author's book into a mis-cast cinematic disaster and that could spell the end of his or her option deals for all time. So, no, casting Whoopie Goldberg to play Bernie Rhodenbarr didn't kill Lawrence Block's career in Hollywood, and casting Cruise as Reacher won't kill Lee's, but make a film out of one of my Aaron Gunner novels with Shia LaBeouf in the title role and watch my novels start to line the garbage cans of every studio in Tinseltown.
(Shia LaBeouf as Gunner. Jeez, I've gotta go lie down now…)
Viggo Mortenson would nail this role if he were casted. He's shown he can play Jack Reacher with roles in movies like "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises."
Tom Cruise is an excellent actor. I will not deny it. But as far as actors go, he does nothing for me. There are some of us who have our opinions without the "whining". I simply do not like him, therefore, I will not be going to see the movie. Or any other movie that casts T.C. as the lead.
I will, however, continue to read Lee Child's works with the same relish and hunger as I do everything he blesses us with.
Brilliant, Alex, couldn't agree more.
And great book cover 😉
Mark Wahlberg, Jeremy Renner, Daniel Craig are three that quickly come to mind for One Shot. Tom Cruise lacks the brooding explosiveness of those I've mentioned.
I have NEVER seen a movie as good as a book. I will see the movie but don't expect it to come anywhere near the excellence of the books. Just "found" Jack Reacher last winter and have read all of the books. Can't wait for the newest. Might go back and start from the beginning to reread them all!
Well thank you Alexandra, you have just slapped all of us Reacher Creatures across the face. Who do you think you are? We are not saying Tom Cruise is a bad actor, just a poor choice to portray Jack Reacher. How having said that, I am more of a Johnny Depp and Robert Downey Jr. fan than Tom Cruise. When was the last time Tom played a part with an accent? Nuff said. The point that us Reacherholics are trying to make is that in every one of Lee Childs' books a big point is made about Reacher's characteristics. Two big ones are that A. Reacher is not very attractive, and B. his stature is a head above others. So yes, that is what we get of that character out of these books. Excuse us if we don't get someone like Tom Cruise. I don't give a rats ass if this movie wins at the box office, and if it doesn't it won't be because Cruise isn't or is in it. No we don't know the inner workings of Hollywood and I could care less, but as readers we do know all things Reacher, and lady, Tom Cruise it ain't. Lee Child had created the persona that is Jack (None) Reacher for millions of readers and now the carpet is going to pulled out from under us as if 'sorry folks, everything you've come to know and love about Reacher is bullshit'. Tell you what Alexandra, read all 14 books and tell us who you get out of them to play Reacher. If you say Tom Cruise is still the best choice you're lying.
You make some excellent points, but I still have to side with readers who just can not "picture" Cruise as Reacher. Yes, Hollywood can probably make him more like Reacher, but when I'm reading the books (which I love!), Reacher is just not Cruise.
Thanks Chas for stating the obvious. I like Tom Cruse as and actor but when I read the character of Reacher in Enemy…When they describe Reacher " Big a most coke machines" Tom Cruse will always be a "mini fridge". I dont care how you want to stretch Tom Cruse in to size but Tom is too aloof and will always be the pretty boy no matter how much grey you add to his hair. When you think of Reacher hes a mans man. In all the books its repeatedly stated how people get out of his way, or avoid him all together. Cruse would be better off as a character "Hook" Holbie in Tripwire.
Thank you for adding polarity to this subject. Being a reader and follower of the Reacher series, I almost face palmed when I read the title. While I don't have a problem with Tom Cruise being short for Reacher, I don't know if he can handle it. My interpretation of Reacher is this: he's a manly man who is creative with his weapons (remember the ceramic knife?) However, with an exception of Collateral, most roles Mr. Cruise has played are more of the same. The same sneer, the same cocky attitude, the same "I'm an American hence I can win" all played out over and over and over and over again. Maybe he's very good at playing that kind of role but Reacher ain't that. I've watched a lot of his movies and I was his fan but I got sick of the same-ness.
If you look at handsome actors around Mr. Cruise's age, two people really stuck out: Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Both of them have a diverse portfolios of portraying different characters. George Clooney in "Good Night and Good Luck" vs. George Clooney in "The Man who Watches Goats." Brad Pitt in "Inglorious Basterds" vs. Brad Pitt in "Meet Joe Black." Different roles, different characters.
But Tom Cruise in *insert movie title* vs. Tom Cruise in *insert another movie title that's not Collateral* are the same. Different names, same character. And this is why I am in protest of Tom Cruise playing Reacher.
Recently, I watched "The Lincoln Lawyer" with Matthew McConaughey playing Mickey Haller. While I love the whole movie, which is a close rendition of the book, I could not get over the fact that Mickey Haller in the movie has a Southern accent. Come on! Mickey Haller is (a) half Hispanic and (b) born and raised in the big bad L.A. Where did that Southern accent come from? Maybe I'm too nitpicking as Mr. McConaughey's Haller does have panache but I almost did not want to watch the movie.
At the end of the day, readers have their own versions of the characters. Having the height or not, we shall see if Mr. Cruise can be Reacher or not. But if I had the power, Gerard Butler would be somewhere in the long short list for Reacher.
You make great points here, particularly about worrying about the movie being good – aside from the lead. I have been considering this casting as well and believe Aaron Eckhart would be a great choice. He's a good sized guy, he can act and is attractive without the prettiness factor. He can look like he's been through a few things. You would not want one of the WWE clowns that think they are now actors in this role by any means. Just my opinion.
Steve, obviously a film is not a book. The leading actor has to make us believe he is Reacher. The writer/director has only a limited amount of time in which to tell the most compelling story possible. Not to dwell on how tall Reacher is. We'll be sitting in a movie theater watching the story unfold on a screen. Forgetting about what's on the printed page. I have read most of Lee Child's novels and believe Tom Cruise can be a convincing Reacher. And I'm not lying.
When I read a novel I make a mental picture of the characters in my mind based on how the author describes them. Mr Child described a imposing figure in Jack reacher. Part of the lure of Reacher is that he just wants to be an everybody, just blend in, but he can't because his imposing figure intimidates people. Tom Cruise is a great actor, but he is not the picture of Jack Reacher that Mr Child has created in this mind. Just one unsophisticated readers opinion who will keep putting down his money to read about Reacher, but probably won't put it down to see a movie that in the end will not resemble anything close to the book.
You make some great points here, but I still don't buy into the idea of Tom Cruise as Reacher.
Cruise is a fine actor, and there is a sense of déjà-vu here. I can remember the uproar from Anne Rice fans when Cruise signed up to play Lestat. He got away with that and played the role very well, but Lestat was a million miles away from the characters Cruise usually plays. It could be suggested that when Cruise plays the stereotype action role, he is merely Tom Cruise. I can't remember his characters name in War of the Worlds or Mission Impossible. It's Tom Cruise doing his thing. I really hope Cruise can bring Reacher to life and put his character up there on the screen, he has the talent, but that's not the issue.
The issue for me is that Hollywood thinks we are stupid. Hollywood thinks we need a star.
James Bond turned into a successful franchise with the then unknown Sean Connery. The public accepted Connery and a star was born. The same with Christopher Reeve as Superman. John Grisham dug in his heels and got Matthew McConaughey for A Time To Kill. The point is, we don't necessarily need a 'film star'. We are not stupid. The film will sell based on the strength of the character that Lee Child has so wonderfully created.
They should have credited the audience with some intelligence and cast an unknown. Personally, I think this would give the franchise a BETTER chance.
I agree that Tom Cruise is an excellent actor. However, he does not have the physical attributes to be convincing as Jack Reacher. It's not just a matter of height, but musculature, and the way a big strong presence moves through space. A man of Reacher's size would have learned this through a LIFETIME of experiences. Mr. Cruise, for all his talent, does not have these years of experience. I will go see the movie – with an open mind. I still believe a better choice could have been made.
Good argument in favour of Cruise, certainly, and he sure has done some excellent work. I'd even go so far as to say he's a far better actor than he's given credit for but playing Reacher???
No way. Not in the creation of Christ. He's too cocky, too noticeable, too shiny and far too cocky. Reacher is cool, laconic, silent and laid back. Not to mention scruffy, if not nondescript. All the things Cruise most certainly is not.
Chuffed for Lee, commercially, though, as Cruise will bring in the megabucks but artistically?
Sorry. Think again 😉
Tom Cruise as Reacher?! NO. Never. I enjoy his movies; I own most of those listed on dvd. Reacher: Viggo M., Mark Walberg, Hugh Jackman, Robert Downey Jr. – all great ideas.
To Steve Cope: you just put into words exactly what I was thinking. Still, maybe there will nothing left of the story in the film when it's finished…. as is fairly normal in Hollywood. And we can carry on reading the Reacher books as if nothing has happened….
Agreed that the real risk is how they play with the original storyline. But the choice of actor carries real risks, too, at least for existing fans. We have established mental images of our great hero, and would rather not have Maverick ruining our reading fun.
For the Reacher Creatures, the problem mostly originates in "Lee"'s rather unassailable decision to sell movie rights to the highest bidder. The existing fans would probably rather see a more tentative entry into the movie world – one with less ambition and a lower budget. A lower-key movie might expect to have a better chance of recouping its costs on the backs of existing franchise fans, and avoid the problems arising from having to cater to a wider audience. But "Lee" did the common-sense thing and sold 'er along for maximum dough (and likely because he knows his own contacts and experience are insufficient for producing a movie).
With the names attached to this project, the producers/owners are looking to create something that goes far beyond the limited world of readers. They want to make serious moolah. Even though I will probably dislike the eventual product, I hope it makes a lot of money. Good exposure for "Lee" is a great thing, as I have no doubt he can and will use it well (promoting lesser-known authors and his new books).
Very interesting perspective post. Whenever I hear Tom Cruise's name the first thing that pops to mind is the picture of him jumping around on Oprah's sofa. In the case of an actor portraying Reacher, size does matter. One of the major characteristics of Reacher is his ability to intimidate the bad guys by his sheer size and demeanor. Can Tom Cruise pull this off? Only if all the other actors are 4'5" kids made up as adults.
I am neither an author nor an actor, just an avid reader. I have read every Reacher novel (actually more than once). In each and every novel, Reacher overcomes the intimidating bad guys by using his size, strength, and mental agility. Although I will not be one of those anxious for the movie to come out and more than likely will never see it, I AM anxiously awaiting the next of Reacher's adventures.
Alex, you sucked them in out of the either, and it's getting a tad gaseous in here. A bit fucking odd some of this seems to be, to me. In my opinion. As it were. For chrissake. Damn.
Alex, i concede Cruise is a movie star. He carried the MI franchise well. But, how many years ago? If Cruise is Reacher in 'One Shot' it will be the last shot. Just as, now Harrison Ford is too old to play the part, Cruise is not young enough at 51 to begin the franchise.
Hollywood, please find us a Reacher for the franchise. Like Connery was for the 6 of the Bond films, give us an icon, the epitome of the character!
Granted, Connery didn't star in all or even a majority of the films, he is Bond when you think of James Bond. This franchise may need more than one but the fans will support the right choice. Just please don't cast poorly – not like the mis-cast Roger Moore. Though he played Bond in 7 films, these were the lowest grossing (when adjusted for inflation).
Wow, wrong day to go workout for an hour! Chris Hamilton, thanks about the book cover, I'm thrilled. Matthew Fox is a good example of what I'm talking about. Cannot argue for one second with his looks and charisma, but can he carry a movie? I don't know. It would be a huge risk.
I rate cruise as an actor and despite physical image I believe he could surprise us and perform well
Personally the only actor I can think of that I'd have chosen is Liam Neeson but then….I'm in no way an expert in these things.
Part of me would rather have the Reacher series remain in Novel form, though I look forward to seeing the film and until then my view will remain neutral on the subject
Reine, exactly – it won't be a book. Now, once in a million years you get a movie that IS every bit as good as the book – Silence of the Lambs – but that is not something an ACTOR does. That is – everyone. The director, the screenwriter, the production team, the cast, and the movie gods. I would like to concentrate on hoping for that – which is basically a miracle. But it happens.
Jena, yes. It's all those millions of things that have to come together to make ANY movie exist at all, let alone one of this size and expectation, that Cruise can do. I have plenty of doubt, but I also have hope.
EPIC FAIL! Whatever serious career Tom Cruise had, he blew it when he jumped on Oprah's couch. Not to mention his string since then of failed movies.
My personal choices:
Viggo & Jeff for the wide range of characters they proven capable of playing over the years. I don't think Vincent D'Onofrio is a name enough star to carry this but certainly fits the physical requirements and is a great actor.
Thank you, Richard, hope you like it! Can't say enough good things about Collateral. And I was wondering when someone was going to mention the McQuarrie factor. I haven't seen WAY OF THE GUN, so I really have no clue. As I said, I have all hope.
But DocHolly, please tell me you're not saying that a stupid moment of live TV can ruin a life and career forever! I think it was a lot better when studios protected the privacy of their actors and didn't force or let them do what the talk show circuit has forced them into.
Your list is really interesting and illustrates my point, I think. I would see Jeff Goldblum in ANYTHING, but would never have thought of him for Reacher. D'Onofrio – love him but have never seen him carry a film. Viggo, though – I would pay a lot of money for that and it sure would work for me.
My vote is for Matt Damon……
I was afraid that all the talk about height would distract from the fact that Tom Cruise is wrong in every other way as well. It's insulting to Reacher fans to insinuate we can't grasp a shorter actor playing Reacher. We can. Just not Tom Cruise. It's a terrible casting choice and I'm saddened to see the creator of one if my favorite fictional characters defend it.
mr cruise… i am awfully sorry but the mind boggles how a 2foot nothing can be even concidered for the roll .. haveing read every one of mr childs books i. just cant imagine him in the roll … its got to be a big guy …6ft..plus and with weather worn looks ..please,please dont destroy a geniuse writer. by putting this guy in the roll (no disrespect to mr cruise). he wont do the wrriter justice or the film …….ps every book mr child has done has been a best seller and he deserves the highest acholade that can be given to a writer. and as you can see . i will never make the grade of a write ha ha .. good luck….
Slicer, I understand what you're saying about bulk being important (especially for male fans) for the credibility – of the action as written in some (not all) of the books. For the movie the action sequences are going to have to be written and choreographed to emphasize fighting skill and strategy instead of brute force. But you don't have to be 6' 5'' to be relentless, which is to me a more interesting quality of Reacher's force than physical bulk.
Liam Neeson is exactly who I always saw as Reacher, it's a shame he wasn't cast 10 years ago. But there's only one film, maybe two, that he could do and then the stories would have to be radically rewritten for a much older man than Reacher is. It would certainly change the nature of the action. Don't you see that as a problem?
good comments. I'm eagerly awaiting the film. I don't think you can convince any fans that Tom Cruise will be Reacher for us. The character personifies masculinity and toughness. His size is part of that but I could see Hugh Jackman doing it better than Tom Cruise. My friends talking last night agreed on Viggo Mortensen as a big, tough "Lee Child-like" pick.
Mr Child's character, Jack Reacher is one of my favourite fiction hero's along with Reza Gard from Michael R Hicks. Thomas Kydd from Julian Stockwin, Scarecrow and others from Matthew Reilly[Image], and I could go on and on, I really do like a good all action novel. And I have my own mental image of what every one of them looks like. But I am a big fan of all types of books and at the moment I am just dipping back in to Seamus Heaney 'District and Circle' a short collection of his poems, so here is what I said to the other fans of Mr Child who were clamouring for people to now stop buying his books, I really do wonder about people sometimes….
For what it is worth, here is my tuppence on the Tom Cruise – Jack Reacher saga. I have just gone through the comments, and like most of you I also believe TC as Jack Reacher is an appalling choice, but this was a business decision, pure and simple. Now here is what I wrote on a blog recently about authors and the written word
"A book is a means by which an author presents to you the reader, his or her words in a way that allows you to visualise in your minds eye every detail of every character of every scene presented in full mind blowing technicolour imagery that only the imagination can present….always much more satisfying than on screen, to my mind at least."
Now say what you want about Mr Cruise, personally I am not a big fan, but he has bought the rights and you never know, he may surprise you all and choose one of the many fine actors that you all are putting forward. But really, many of you are saying 'don't buy' what appears to have been one of your favourite authors books because of this decision, really! Read the books, don't watch the movie and continue to get the same enjoyment out of each novel as it appears as you did before this brouhaha developed. Best Wishes to all and here is to many more Jack Reacher novels that I will certainly continue to enjoy.
Denise, I am going to aspire to your excitement about how it all plays out. I have to admit I'm actually terrified, but it has to do with what happens with the story more than any other element.
I would both agree and disagree with what you say here. You have a good point when you say that the lead actor has to carry the film & the franchise. That's why Tom Cruise is the wrong choice. He's too, well, wierd.
Sorry. IDK who I'd suggest, but not Tom Kat.
Tom Cruise is not big enough to be Jack Reacher – end of….
Chas, I'm laughing – I guess I understand how some people can be gagging at the idea of Tom Cruise as Reacher because I just had probably the same wave of nausea at the idea of The Rock as Reacher.
You can't please all of the people all of the time.
Tom cruise is too clean cut and has conventional good looks the height issue aside he could never be menacing enough to smash bones and faces nor arrogant enough to accept that women will give themselves to him. Yes i am a sad uber fan and im not sure i will be satisfied with anyone playing jack but it has to be an unknown or relatively unknown actor who can make the part his own.
Reacher is by far my favorite series character and I wait with anticipation for each new book. I am disappointed with the choice of Tom Cruise to play Reacher and my excitement at seeing the movie has dimmed since the announcement of his signing. I will still go see the movie–but I will most likely not go out of my way to make the time to do so. I think I will have a hard time believing Tom Cruise as Reacher. I realize that Tom Cruise's height and physical dimensions can be exaggerated with special effects, but no matter how good the special effects, I will KNOW that Tom Cruise is no Reacher. The author of this blog notes that Reacher's "size and six-pack abs are incidental of the man". I understand where she is coming from–special effects and a little bit of exercise can give Tom Cruise these characteristics. What I don't think special effects will be able to give Tom Cruise is the "entrance impact" I visualize Reacher to have, that ability to fill a room with his presence. Tom Cruise has shown himself to be a wonderful actor, but he is not that good. That being said, I hope that for Reacher's future on the big screen that the movie is better than I think it will be and Cruise's star power makes "One Shot" a blockbuster hit!
Momo, I will never picture Tom Cruise when I read the books, either. But as much as Liam Neeson, for example, might look like Reacher, I don't picture Neeson when I read the books. I picture Reacher. Like it or not, we all have to let some of that go when we see a movie.
I didn't meant to imply that all Reacher Creatures are whining, I apologize if it sounded that way. I don't know what Reacher Creatures in general think of this – I assume there are as many opinions as – on this blog. But it does seem to me there is a lot of whining going on.
I have to agree with Eric H, Reacher is a guys guy and since Lee has put this Jack Reacher image in our heads it DOES matter about the physical size along with being able to carry the film. I love Tom Cruise as an actor and he has shown his skill in A Few Good Men, Top Gun, Jerry McGuire, etc…But he's 5'10'' (maybe) and not Reacher size and a little too pretty. It's a tough call on the perfect actor for Reacher with what we have to pick from in Hollywood. Been racking my brain for awhile over this……Just who does have the stature and the acting skills??? Needs to be someone who can make the impact to keep it going for more than one movie so all of us Reacher lovers can enjoy his escapades for a few years!
Yeah, I'll get on my knees and light a candle … So I can look Tom Cruise in the eye !!!
I will have to agree to disagree with you. Tom Cruise is one actor I simply don't like. I really don't like his "acting" and it appears to me he plays the same character over and over in most of his films. I see movies he's in in spite of him being in them. He just doesn't seem to be Reacher to me or a lot of other Lee Child fans. Perhaps it will be like James Bond, and another actor will be cast in the role for later films.
I hope the film does well and introduces new fans to the Reacher character and the Lee Child books.
I can't wait to get your new book. It's good to see YA lit has another great writer!
This casting reminds me of the old days of the 40s and 50s when stars were miscast as Native Americans or other ethnic groups and it as misguided as it was back then.
The whole Reacher persona is based on physical attributes, such height/weight and stength and other attributes, such as intimidation. I don't care how great an actor you think Tom Cruise is he won't ever be what Jack Reacher is. As they say in basketball, you can't coach height.
And this article is extremely condescending to us Reacher fans. Telling us how we should react to when one of our favorite characters is played by someone who is not going to be able to pull it off and kill the Reacher movies before they got out of the shute.
I am sure that you and your fans would feel the same way if one of your beloved characters was going to be portrayed by a lightweight.
It was a very interesting perspective that was presented vis a vis the ability to carry a movie aka 'star power' and it certainly is a coup to get Tom Cruise to play in the first movie of what one would hope would become a whole series. Nevertheless, having read all of the Reacher books I can very honestly opine that Tom Cruise ain't Reacher…not by a long shot. No one is that good of an actor and Hollywood isn't magical enough to make Tom Cruise into the 6'5", appliance sized behemoth that Lee Child describes in the books. I know this is going to sound like a stretch but in terms of sheer star power as well as basic physical attributes, I can honestly see John Travolta playing Reacher. He's a good enough actor to pull it off, he can credibly fit the physical model and he can most certainly carry a film.
John Donnelly – and everyone – please note that I never said that Tom Cruise would have been MY choice!
It's interesting that you bring up the physical presence of a military officer. I was thinking that while watching A FEW GOOD MEN a few weeks ago. Not one of those actors had the physicality of a military person except for – shockingly – Kevin Bacon, sometimes. It's a really difficult thing to get right.
Sadly, whiney or not, it seems those who actually made Reacher famous and Lee Child rich (i.e.we, the book-purchasing public) are not allowed to have a say.
I don't like being patronised just for having a differing point of view from the one or two (all I've seen so far, anyway) pro-TC supporters.
In all the 15 books about Reacher so far, there has been specific and meticulous detail about his physique and the way that has an impact (excuse pun!) on his circumstances. Therefore, surely that should have a bearing on how the story of One Shot is portrayed cinematically.
It seems not, and we (if we do go to see it) will have to swallow vast amounts of disbelief in order for the plot to work out.
I have all the Reacher books but I shan't bother to bust a gut to pay out for any more of them. Lee Child has made his fortune on the backs of his faithful fans – that he gushes over this so-called metaphore for Reacher's size is sad and quite a betrayal of those who put him where he is now.
TC in One Shot will be Reacher, but not the Reacher we've grown to admire. As for purchasing a cinema ticket – I think I'll pass on that if you don't mind (if I'm actually allowed to have an opinion, that is!)
Alexandra rode the argument as skilfully as the greatest horseman rides his stead. Size cropped, up she deftly flicked the reigns to the left, pretty boy looks, she pulled the beast with just the touch of her heels. Carrying the movie is the most important, hands free just a squeeze from her thighs on the chargers flanks to guide. Problem is Alexandra that horse be dead, get off it, no amount of skill or flogging is going to get it to move and frankly it's starting to smell.
Tom Cruise is not a Jack Reacher candidate. Not only is he not physically adequate, but he just does not have the personna that Jack Reacher exhibits in the character. The only one I can half-way think of pulling off Reacher would be a younger Clint Eastwood. You would have to put Tom Cruise on stilts to even reach the height of Reacher, besides in several of Cruises pictures, he had to stand on a box or have special shoes with lifts in them to make him as tall or taller than his leading actresses. PLEAZE! He needs to stay with his image in Top Gun or Jerry Maguire. Reacher is not chocolate box pretty/handsome. He has wear and tear and character in his face. Plus there is no way Cruise can pull off the muscle that Reacher has, not to mention the physical autonomy of his arms/hands. If Childs wanted Reacher to look like a Tom Cruise, he would have written the character's
physical description as such.
BRAVA, ALEX! BRAVA! Thank you for putting in words what a lot of others are thinking. I could not have done it as eloquently as you have. I'm pretty excited to see the movie solely because Tom Cruise is a kick ass action star. I love his movies, except for maybe Magnolia. The man knows what he's doing.
Great point about Tootsie, which brought to mind Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire. I'm so glad that there are many people in Hollywood who are much smarter than me at casting.
Love the cover The Unseen…why is it that books that come out in the UK have covers so much better than the ones they use in the US? That would totally give me nightmares. Love the colors used in this one.
Peace and love,
I'm not a writer, don't have novels to option, and couldn't care less how Hollywood works. I just love the Lee Child/Jack Reacher books and fervently hope this travesty doesn't occur. I've just read "61 Hours" again, trying to envision Cruise as Jack Reacher and can't keep from cringing. Putting height aside, he simply cannot play tough, gritty characters with the ability to hose fear (sorry, Richard Condon). In "Collateral", an otherwise good movie, he was unconvincing and seemed to be channeling Robert DeNiro in "Heat" – mannerisms, grey suit and all…cute little stubble, though.
Daniel Craig, Dennis Haysbert, and Hugh Jackman immediately come to mind as better suited to play Jack Reacher – there are many others.
I neglected to add that I don't really have any idea who would best play Reacher. I like the previous post indicating John Travolta though–interesting 🙂 It will be very hard for any movie, with any actor to live up to the Reacher Lee Child has helped me envision. I have not heard of anyone encouraging others to stop buying the Reacher novels in protest of this upcoming movie! In response to anyone who would recommend this action, I say "UP YOURS" 🙂 I will buy these books on the black market if I must!! Thank you, Lee, for creating this wonderful character. Whatever comes of this movie, I wish you the best–and keep the stories coming!
I agree that Cruise is a veteran actor. But is it a given that this movie MUST have a "movie star?" I can think of many movies that were the debut of great, but unknown, actors. And while the following isn't an example of a "great" actor, who would have ever thought Christopher Reeve could pull off Superman? But he made that role his own. Why not take a little time and search for a lesser-known who could also fit the physical? Certainly in the Terminator series, a hugely successful franchise, they went for the body type, and that was part and parcel of the appeal of the movies.
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned that Cruise hasn't carried a film since 2006 and his last two big budget features he led were colossal failures at the box office. There are those in Hollywood of the opinion that he is box office poison. The question here is not whether he can look the part of Reacher, but can he EVER carry ANY film again. The determining factor will be the success of his "comback" film version of "Rock Of Ages". If he can score with that, "One Shot" will probably follow suit. But, right now, the reality from a business standpoint is that anything with Cruise is a gamble. -Bob D.
I would much rather see how Tom Cruise works in the story than have someone else in a changed story. I just watched Lincoln Lawyer last night and loved it. I think that the actors playing the parts is secondary to the story line. Matthew McConaughey's southern accent was not as much a problem for me as tobacco vs guns in Runaway Jury!
I always had Liam Neeson in mind to play Jack Reacher
Gar, I might be tempting fate to say this, but I don't think it's very likely that a truly horrible truly movie could be made of One Shot with the current attachments. That’s why Tom Cruise is the power he is – he doesn’t make mistakes like that. What’s far more likely is that it will be a successful movie that has very, very little to do with the book or series (the way the Mission Impossible franchise has nothing to do with the TV series) but it will still serve as a massive worldwide advertisement for the books, introduce millions of people to Reacher and his adventures, and cement the books and Reacher's and Lee Child's immortality.
And much as I’m laughing about your Gunner casting example – that movie might be a pretty good advertisement for yours, as well. You know, there’s no such thing as bad publicity and all that.
You're wrong.The Reacher movie does not need a "star". Fans of the books would go see the movie because of the books. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher is a joke. It does not mean that I don't think TC can act. Although since his couch jumping meltdown does anyone even go see his movies anymore?
Jack Reacher is not just his size, obviously. But it IS a big (no pun intended) part of the character. I'll stick to the books and not waste a minute or a dime on a movie with TC as Jack Reacher. People that love the books won't buy it and therefore, won't go.
with all due respect, I have never heard of you. At my local bookstore, you are probably on the racks but unfortunately not on my radar. Same at amazon. HOWEVER; you will be from now on! I shall check out your writings, I enjoyed your piece on Tom Cruise/One shot. As an avid reader of Lee Childs I can see where you are coming from on the size 'problem' and the rectification of said problem and the most relevant thing you said for me is that 'we read' , Reacher can be any size we want him to be, almost any colour as well. That is the beauty and power of the written word. Hollywood will do what it wants with the truth or in this case the character assets. P.S. as an avid movie goer I can't wait.for the film to come out – the only bad thing about it is I have read the book: Will the film hold its own against authors word and my imagination!! ……if it does thats a win win situation!
Imagine an industry populated entirely by ADHD-types. Now, select only the top 10%, ranked by size of ego. Now, turn on the nitrous oxide. That's Hollywood. Do they know how to make movies? Occasionally. Do they make short-term decisions that are more political than smart regarding casting – like putting a 5' 0" couch-hopping poodle in the role of a menacing former army MP? Yes. Yes they do.
The height and body thing? It matters. Is Cruise a fine actor? Sure. So is Danny Divito. Casting Lil' Tom a Reacher is a bit like casting Halle Berry as James Bond. And did I mention that the millions of Reacher fans are pissed off? This matters more than anything else here. Don't make me bring up The Vampire Lestat.
Perhaps Hannah Montana should have been cast…. she could definitely carry a movie, make everyone a buttload of money and who cares if the actor actually matches the character… it's Hollywood baby. I hope Child buys a clue with what he's reaping. Ask S. King about regretting selling movie rights with 'The Shining'.
Surely a great many things can also go wrong with the movie besides casting, it's just that the casting is the only thing we know about now so it's fair game to complain. I'd decided not to have high hopes for the movie anyway, since movies rarely live up to the books. But what bothers me about Tom Cruise is not his height, it's that his public persona is too huge; it overwhelms his acting. I (and many people) can't watch him in a movie any more without thinking 'Hey, there's that crazy guy'.
Thanks for slapping us in the face for caring about the Reacher character and who plays him….we aren't whining we are coming out in droves to express our consternation about that decision. To many fans of Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise does not fill the bill. I don't care what Hollywood has up it's sleeve, making him "look" bigger, more menacing, etc. He just always is "Tom Cruise" in just about every movie he makes,- that swagger, that big shit-eating smile, that ego….. THAT is NOT Jack Reacher. Since his lame religious platitudes and couch bouncing, plus the repetitive type roles, I haven't been terribly fond of anything he does. All I see is that couch. Please…. Cruise playing Reacher is just a joke. You can disparage us if you want but who cares what you think. (You don't care what we think either, or you wouldn't be so insulting and dismissive.)
Sounds like you have little regard for actors in general
Sounds like you have little regard for fans in general.
Sounds like you are in love with Tom Cruise.
My only response to Cruise as Reacher is Lestat. I didn't buy Cruise as Lestat either, and mind you, I liked him in War of the Worlds and Minority Report, so it's not like I don't believe Cruise in an action role. He's been doing Mission: Impossible for how long? (Despite how rancid the first one was.)
I don't believe this is anything like the flap over Daniel Craig as James Bond, especially when you had five other Bond actors all saying, "Yes, but you're all idiots. Now go watch Casino Royale." (Yeah, ever think you'd see Connery AND Lazenby AND Dalton on the same page?)
No, this would be akin to casting Ben Affleck as Batman or John Travolta as Hannibal Lecter. Might be capable of acting the part, but Cruise has to SELL the part. And having read the books, I'm completely unconvinced.
Could be worse, though. They could have cast Steve Buscemi.
Tom Cruise & Jamie Foxx in " Collateral"
I concede the " STAR / Franchise" argument.
– But he's just too dam short !
Ummmm….86 comments by Noon? I don't think there's anything I can add to the discussion that hasn't already been said.
However, I do want to say that you are spot-on in your rant, Alex. I agree with you. It was a brave and fantastic bit and I commend you for having the guts to put it out there.
How much did Tom Cruise pay for that article?
Tom Cruise IS too small, old and stupid to play Jack Reacher. If Reacher's size is not important why does the author mention it IN EVERY BOOK!! The ONLY reason Cruise still has power in Hollywood is NOT his draw at the movie theaters, rather his ownership in Columbia Stuidios….as well as MONEY and THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY….If anyone thinks Cruise can pull this off, then you are not a true fan of Jack Reacher…..or you don't pay enough attention to the fact of his size and strength and how it adds not only to the character, but EVERY offense and defensive move he not only makes, but plans with extreme accuracy and precision….it's not just the size, it's the true possibility that the man can do all the EXTREME feats he does…WAKE UP WHEN YOU ARE READING!!!!
You know, I understand having a difference of opinion on this subject, and I bow to no one in my affection and admiration for Lee Child's work…but what I don't understand is people feeling insulted, condescended to, or "slapped in the face" because someone disagrees with you on who should play a fictional character in a movie. Can we please dial the drama back a little?
Alex while i understand the wish to defend TC in the picture, to disenfranchise Child's reader base as whiners and ignorant for not accepting TC as Reacher, it is not a simple matter of Physical appearance that people are focused on, most readers are simple blue collar people who enjoy the action and well thought out story line that Mr Child has created, Your argument for a star to be able to keep the franchise going is laughable, arguably yes you may need a star but any film franchise that has been successful has had a cast that was believable – lets Use Valkyrie as an example, TC was believable in that movie because he was almost a dead ringer for von Stauffenberg,
but then again the "mystery readers" as you so put it, who spend THEIR money on these books, should just shut up and be grateful for what garbage is produced by Hollywood and light a candle and worship them, well one thing i do know about hollywood is that it is driven by Money, hmmm as are book sales, anger the audience and see how far this will go
Alexandra Please don't be afraid of the Scientologists – Tom Cruise just does not have the gravitas to play this part!
Irrespective of the obvious height issue, Cruise is not brooding or imposing enough to pull off the part & as an avid reader of Reacher books, I know Reacher intimidates his foes. Will Cruise be able to do that whilst standing on a box? or whilst his co-star is standing in a hole?
This part should have gone to Sam Worthington from "Avatar", "Terminator 4" & Clash of the Titans as all of these roles ably demonstrate his ability to get the action hero across.
Plus don't even get me started on beginning the movie franchise with "One Shot" What's wrong with the 1st book "Killing Floor?"
Cruise has been carrying movies since he was 21? Not lately. I'm glad we all have our opinion, and as you say, height shouldn't be the only thing we look for. I still think he is wrong and I for one, will not go see it.
I guess I was under the understanding that the role would be played by a new person…someone who isn't your "standard, run of the mill, Hollywood action figure". I see Jack Reacher, as I think most of us do, as a stand alone, one of a kind individual that isn't your blase Hollywood Icon. Personally, although I think Cruise is a good actor, but the Reacher character has such a good head on his shoulders, that I believe it will be hard for many audiences to "get over" Tom's real life wack-job- scientology stereotype. I know it will be hard for me to take him seriously as he has gone so far off the deep end with that. I guess I was hoping for really special and new actor to stand out in this role, not a hollywood icon who is now pretty much considered a total wierdo.
Dumbest argument I've ever heard. You're saying fans of the books are too dumb to know who should play one of the most iconic fiction action heros today? Almost any actor except Ashton Kutchter would have been preferrable to Cruise. Cruise is just not that good an actor and doesn't have the chops to pull off playing Reacher. I don't plan to see the movie. Great job by the Hollywood movie geniuses you refer to.
I'm sorry, but Tom Cruise just isn't Reacher. Most of Reacher's fights are over before they've even begun, through intimidation and fear of how big he is. Regrdless of how good an actor Tom Cruise is, he can't replicate that.
My image of Reacher always has and always will be, regardless of whether the movie is a success or not, Mickey Rourke.
He's perfect for the role. Older, grizzled, proper height, proper physique and has that brooding mentality down pat.
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher??? He would be the last person I imagined while reading the Jack Reacher Novels. I thought of someone with a darker soul, with a lot of charisma. Tom Cruise is a good actor, but he is too soft-edged to play someone with that kind of background-story. My favorite would have been someone like Russel Crow.
Alex, I know this is Murderati. And people are allowed. And all the Rati have been very understanding, patient, and giving with me. But this is too painful here today. I can't wade through any more vitriol right now to get to the good stuff. Love you, your blogs, your comments, and your books. xo
No. No. No! Stick to your own books, Alexandra. I WILL participate in the boycott of what will be a crappy movie with the short Tom Cruise as Reacher. I may even stop reading the books due to disgust.
I just can't see Tom Cruise as Reacher. Reacher's physical presence is paramount to his character. He is a man that is used to being in charge and supremely confident in his physicality. People are impressed with his size and often underestimate his intelligence. Anyway you sell it, fans of the book will not support Tom Cruise as Reacher, and questioning their intelligence is not going to win you any arguements. The character would be much different if he was 5'8 with classic good looks, most of the story lines just simply would not work. Tom Cruise? I don't think so……………………….
Sorry. Cruise playing Reacher does not work for me and I will never watch the film. I will not wreck the image of Jack Reacher I have from the novels by seeing Tom Cruise in the role. It was dumb casting by Hollywood types that are unfamiliar with the novels and only read a screenplay.
Sorry, but I will NEVER watch Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. No couch jumping, no tirade on the Today show, or lame actor that Hollywood THINKS can carry a movie will convince me otherwise. Books allow us to visualize a character, and Jack Reacher in my head has NEVER looked like Cruise. Tom Cruise can act, and though I thought him very good in "Collateral" , wasn't it really Jamie Fox that carried the movie? There are only three castings that have prevented me from really enjoying a movie, Tom Hanks in the DaVinci Code, Kelsey Grammer as Beast in X-Men2, and now Tom Cruise in One Shot. I'm not looking for a walking six pack, I'm just looking for someone that will not completely ruin a good story.
Lost all respect for Tom Cruise when he jumped around on Oprah's couch like a goof.
Tom Cruise will NEVER be Jack Reacher. He is too old, and he is TOO SMALL. Sorry Alex, size does matter. It matters a lot. Especially here. Size is the defining difference between Jack Reacher and everyone else in the world. Every book turns on Reacher's physical abilities. Every single one. Reacher is acutely aware of his size. And so is everyone else. His personal history, knowledge, psychology and skill set were formed as a result of his size and power. Reacher is very smart, and he is very large. And he is not 50+. Tom Cruise? Unh uh. No. There are laws of physics governing the suspension of disbelief that are violated here. It is ridiculous in every sense of the word. ("Ridiculous": worthy of or exciting ridicule; absurd, preposterous, laughable, or contemptible.) If Lee Child wants to make a movie with Tom Cruise, that is wonderful, just don't try to convince me it is a Jack Reacher movie. I have bought and read every book, and I gifted The Killing Floor to about half a dozen friends. I like Tom Cruise just fine, but after fourteen books, we know Jack Reacher, and Tom Cruise is no Jack Reacher.
Thanks, Alex. I've been defending the Tom Cruise as Reacher decision ever since it was announced.
I find it interesting that people bag on Cruise for jumping on Oprah's couch and expressing his joy over being in love. Was it silly? Yes. But for a guy's career to suffer because he expresses something GOOD amazes me. If he'd told a story of drug addiction and affairs with hundreds of women and cried on her couch instead, he'd probably be more popular than ever.
I don't get people.
By the way, I love that UK cover. They really know what they're doing.
Brilliant post – thanks for supplying a rare voice of reason in this debate. I'm particularly amazed that people are going to stop reading the books because they'll never manage to get the picture of TC as Reacher out of their heads, but the reason they don't want Cruise is that their mental picture of Reacher is so strong…
Of course, jumping on a couch seems to be reason enough to discount him as Reacher for some, so you have to shake your head in wonder.
My problem isn't his height, or hair color, or eye color or any of those things, though I certainly think if it hadn't been Tom Cruise casting himself, someone else might have made a very different choice. My problem is that in no movie have I ever seen Tom Cruise manage to look menacing. And Reacher does that a LOT. Long before I found him personally distasteful because of the things he's said and done, I thought he did a better job playing roles that required some…tomfoolery. I find him glib, asexual, and unimpressive and I always have, no matter how dramatic the roles he's played have been.
I skimmed most of these comments, and just wanted to point out that Alex didn't say that Reacher fans are dumb. Hardly, considering that Alex and most of us here at Murderati are HUGE Reacher fans. I thought her argument was outstanding. Would TC have been my first choice? No. Do I think he can pull it off? Maybe. Will I see the movie? Absolutely.
Everyone is entitled to have an opinion about this matter, and I completely understand why people might be upset with the decisions. But please refrain from jumping all over Alex or Lee Child in the discussion, which has gone from a civil discourse to insults over the course of the morning. The movie business is NOT the book business, which is the point (I think) that Alex was making.
As much as I understand what you're saying, one can't escape the fact that in the front of the books are Reacher's vital statistics. Clearly stated is his height and weight, there's no avoiding it. Somehow I feel this movie will go the same way as all other films made from great books.
When I read these books, Vin Diesel comes to mind every time. He's got the sex appeal, there's no doubt about it! I do not think Tom Cruise can pull it off as he is 'pretty'. Got to get a rough and tough guy – Dwayne Johnson would be my second pick…
Why is everyone seeing logic in this argument? There are simply no good or valid points in the Tome Cruise/ Jack Reacher argument.
We go to movies to see characters relive the themes of our books, stories with which we have become intimately familiar. Using the same argument, Harry Potter could have been played by Chris Rock, or Jonah Hill, or Zac Ephron. Why do studios spend considerable time on casting. Movies based on pre-established characters and themes with a built-in audience try to find people to fill roles. Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne people complained about. George Clooney as Bruce Wayne=Fail. But, people seem to love Christian Bale. He hits closer to home, because he personifies what people want to see. Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (US) has been the same way; trying to find an actor to play Salander. Why? Because of her diminutive stature. Otherwise, why don't we just get Queen Latifah, or Sandra Bullock, or Cameron Diaz. If looks don't matter in a movie, then why don't we simply have a lottery and pull names out of a hat. Even Battlestar Galactica on SyFy had its share of issues when it cast a woman as Starbuck – notably me. But, what helped that character make the transition was that the character was a pilot, pure and simple.
Eric Bana, Brandon Routh, Matthew Fox are all over 6'2", have had big roles in big movies, and TV, and are relatively seasoned actors, and can do the physical stuff required of Reacher.
Tom Cruise as Reacher is the most lame, no-thinking-required decision any studio could possibly make, and essentially tells an established community of fans to go eat dirt.
"…..Could be worse, though. They could have cast Steve Buscemi."
or Hugh Grant….and let's not forget Hayden Christensen who did such a wonderful job as Darth Vader.
Tom Cruise is NOT Jack Reacher in any way, shape or form! I am so upset over ths! Most of all the actors mentioned in the posts above are so much more credible. The movie will proably not be relative to the book anyway. Wasn't Viggo in History of Violence? Now am I to wait to be disappointed in the choice for Harry Bosch (Michael Connelly books), Scot Harvath (Brad Thor books), Mitch Rapp (Vince Flynn books)?
Tom Cruise can play a "mini" Reacher! Like "mini me" in Austin Powers!
Okay, David, THAT was funny.
Hey! They can always give him an outfit like Mike Meyers "Fat Bastard".
If Alan Ladd play a respectable Shane, Tom Cruise can sure stand as Reacher.
From Alex, because the Internet is giving her fits this afternoon:
“Lee Child”, I don’t think you have to worry about Lee Child being damaged by the film!
Craig (and someone else said this too, but I'm having trouble loading the site), I completely agree that an unknown would be easier for Reacher fans to accept, and might be a better choice artistically (although there's still that massive issue of the actor having to carry the movie). But no one was thinking that the fans needed a star. No one was thinking of the fans at all. The number of people who read the Reacher books, while any other author would kill for those numbers, are not a drop in the bucket compared to the number of people who will see this movie. The vast, vast majority of people who see the film will never have heard of Reacher. The books will have nothing to do with their decision to go.
But after the movie, a whole hell of a lot of them will buy the books.
Tom Stronach has some really excellent advice, there. If you can’t stomach Tom Cruise and you think seeing it will alter your enjoyment of the books, DON’T SEE THE MOVIE. Nothing’s worth that. What difference does the movie make, really? It doesn’t change the books.
And he’s also right that Tom Cruise could drop out of the movie tomorrow as an actor, remain on as a producer, and cast someone YOU personally could get behind. Or his dropping out will put the movie back on the shelf and we can all keep our ideal image of Reacher pure in our own heads. Anything and more can happen and most likely will.
Inthebuff, Nancy, and others – what I don’t understand is how anyone is getting the idea that Reacher ISN’T one of my beloved characters. I don’t think you’ve actually read what I wrote – it seems to me you stopped at “Tom Cruise.” But I can certainly understand and sympathize with the feeling of helpless rage that Hollywood is doing just what it likes to make money however it can regardless of the source material. It sucks.
I was a screenwriter and NO ONE has to tell me about helpless rage at Hollywood. It’s why I’m an author, now.
Where are people getting the figures that the last two Cruise movies were box office flops? The box office numbers I see for Knight and Day, and incidentally I would sooner have stuck needles into my eyes than to have gone to see that one – are $258,804,462.
— Bob W., you rock!! Ladd as Shane is an excellent example of the unlikely working.
After reading ALL of Ludlum's books, including the Cover One series, I was desperate for a new hero. Jack Reacher was that hero for me. I agree with Sokoloff's comments to an extent, but I also believe that his height adds to his imposing character. You don't look at Cruise and immediately feel intimidated (unless he's talking Scientology ;o]). I LOVE Mission Impossible and believe that Tom Cruise will play an excellent Reacher, but his stature might prove a challenge for the producers of the movie. I know… there's more to a man's stature than his height, but it certainly doesn't hurt to add a few inches!
I don't really go along with your argument that star power will 'make or break' a movie – there have been many movies that have failed with a big star attached. `nor do i believe that TC will be able to pull off the Reacher character just because he is a bad/average/good/great/[your-opinion] actor…
going by that premise – TC should make a fully credible Dumbledore [@micheal above: honest i thought of this before reading your comment]
And Alex, you are right: 100%. An awful lot can go wrong with a movie before a single frame is shot… and the guys attached do have the potential to make a great movie…
My biggest problem is that i feel the producers are not thinking long term, that they are not thinking of a series or a franchise
I don't believe that TC has signed up to play Reacher for more than one movie. Two years to make this one, two years in between, two years to make the next? And TC is 51 now [according to a previous post] so he will be 53, 57, then 63…
My biggest fear is that we get a 'Bone Collector' : a film with two stars, which was ok, and no sequel. Or an 'Along came a spider' [yeah ok they did try again with that one, and both were… ok],
If we are lucky we will get a great movie, called 'One Shot' with a character called Reacher that pinches the jist of the book, but has little other connection to the canon : a 'Master and Commander' if you will. If we end up with a movie that gives us an enjoyable couple of hours – splendid.
'One Shot' is probably one of the easier of the Reacher stories to treat in this way, and also the one that doesn't really require the presence of someone with a physical presence.
I don't think its fair that you say we 'readers' don't understand Hollywood and the movie business: a poor generalisation. Having read William Goldman's tales – nothing would surprise me more about where the motivation came from to make this movie, or why TC even excepted the role. Well nothing – once you have taken money out of the equation.
Whoever said Dwayne Johnson could play a good "reacher" had a good point. "The Rock" would ROCK the Reacher role!
Quite a 'Rati scolding. "Whining", "ignorance…vast & astonishing", "stupefying". Wow. How dare those fans, "constant readers", best-seller makers have a passionate reaction and express it? "Just get over it"? Been droning for months…right? Weeks, days? Couldn't be these vastly ignorant whiners just heard & reacted…disappointment raw & immediate? But what's to "get over"? Caring? Couldn't be the volume of disapproval reflects the depth of that caring? Ain't that something…made-up stories, make-believe character… books!…words, words, words…got so deep…make such a difference in those ignorant whiners' lives. Yeah, get over it. From now on just keep buying the books in vast, astonishing, stupefying numbers and shut up. Consider your collective peasant, hoy polloy, groundings, great unwashed knuckles well & truly…so superiorly…so righteously rapped. Go eat cake or something…
Alex – don’t take this personally, but as a Reacher fan I have to wonder if you really HAVE read the books when you make statements like “…to me Reacher’s size and six-pack are completely incidental to the man…” ! Er, you can’t escape the fact that Reacher’s size is restated in each volume in some detail – that’s a heck of a lot of text you are disregarding, then!
Also, statements like: “…Finally, let me just say this. Reacher fans are the last people who should be complaining. We can have Reacher in any form we want, every time we pick up one of the books….” do not endear you to us! True – we can have Reacher in any form -THAT THE TEXT DESCRIBES!!! Not some midget, however big his charisma or ego!
You don’t like us (fans) creating a stink? Then don’t make sweeping statements that contradict the groundswell of voices that plead ‘make Reacher true to his described/prescribed character!
Be serious people…
Cruise as Reacher is a miscast.
Clearly Cruise signed on in anticipation of a movie role franchise to rival 007, thus a solid play on his part, but it only works if the franchise sustains itself at the BO. I think Cruise has way too much marketing baggage to drive this franchise. I know that Vince Flynn was leaning toward Eric Bana and he would have been a dark horse in my view, regarding the ability to carry the franchise.
It is a heck of a lot different to make this decision when you are in the big chair. Many variables and business decisions to respond to, and all have substantial downsides.
If it was my movie, it would have been Liam Neeson. He has the powerful on screen presence needed. He is not a pretty boy. He can easily look like he has been down a few hundred miles of bad road, and he can be convincingly ferocious in his silence along with the carefully chosen Vince Flynn dialogue.
He has a very successful BO history and is coming off "Taken", a role that is germane to the Reacher character paradigm.
Anyway – all fun stuff – and we all can only hope now that the "franchise" will provide many years of accurate translation of Flynn's work to the big screen.
"Leave of Absence" (available as ebook through all e-book resellers)
I’m really playing catch up here, since I haven’t been able to get on the site most of the afternoon, but Steve, I assure you, I’ve read all 14 books, many of them multiple times. I’ve said that Tom Cruise wouldn’t have been MY choice. Liam Neeson and Russell Crowe are the most obvious, but in brutally practical terms, there’s a problem with their ages. Tom Cruise is not young but looks and presents much younger. Viggo Mortenson, hell yeah – Hugh Jackman, yes in most anything, but not my first choice here. Denzel Washington would be extremely high on my list.
But OMG, Reacher isn’t African American, is he? Impossible! In the books it CLEARLY SAYS HE'S WHITE.
Sorry, but you know what? He’d make a hell of a Reacher – it wouldn’t stretch credibility for me a bit. Laurence Fishburne ten years ago? Where do I sign? I’d even maybe take a gamble on Jamie Foxx, although I haven’t seen him do something quite like this – yet.
Does anyone see what I’m saying? I am just as insulted by people being so literal about MY Reacher as some of you seem to be insulted by my considering everything that someone not so literal could bring to the table. It's the ESSENCE of Reacher that's most important to me.
Here is the thing… we are not really attacking Tom Cruise's acting ability. It is simply the fact that ANY actor of Cruise's stature (or lack thereof) just will not work. The weird stuff that Tom has done over the years really has no bearing. If Dolph Lundgren was the same size at Tom, or Ray Stevenson, the casting would still be questioned.
Let's just say, there's such a thing as artistic licence and then there's artistic lunacy – I know which category I'd stick Tiny Tom in!
I'm not saying he can't act, but I really don't think he can play Reacher as described in the novels!
OK – let's see the film come out to great hype and fanfare – then watch as it becomes a remnant of the 'bargain-bucket' in the supermarket DVD section shortly afterwards!
Charles, I posted this above but I will say it again. NO ONE has to tell me about the raw rage of feeling violated by Hollywood. I am truly sorry that that is what you are feeling about this. It's absolutely true that I have a thicker skin about that than a lot of people do – if I hadn't developed one I would be dead by now.
But please understand this. I have been feeling violated by the photos and comments I have seen posted about who should play Reacher on message boards lately – and I am NOT talking about the Reacher Creature boards, I've never signed on there. I'm talking about crotch shots and ab shots with no heads attached. It's surreal.
And the vitriol against short men is horrifying and painful to see. There's some really nasty stuff being posted and it got to the point that I had to react.
Alexandra, the essence of Reacher is important to each of readers too and that is why we are so opposed to the casting of Tom Cruise (or anyone else 5'8"), period. Perhaps Hollywood doesn't care, or they are geniuses because I'm sure while a vast majority of Reacher fans will not spend the money on this movie, there are those who will treat it as a train wreck where you just have to watch, which may or may not translate into big bucks. Let's all remember that recently it was revealed that the cast of Harry Potter was not necessary picked based on their acting ability. If more Reacher films are in the radar, they need to take that into consideration. I think quite a few books would make great films if the screenplay translates well enough. Given the right supporting cast, I'm sure a no name actor could very well capture the essence, as you say, of Jack Reacher.
I have to wonder whether those who are offended by Alex's "rant" have ever read a really good down and dirty pull out all the stops RANT. Especially one delivered by a writer as powerfully talented as Alex. Because while I think this is a well-reasoned post that offers much to support her view, whether you agree with it or not — as a rant? It's really sort of mild mannered and friendly. C'mon guys. Alex is a writer (and yes, a big Reacher fan). She loves readers. Everyone over here loves readers. You're seeing insult where none exists.
I'm also a huge Reacher fan and I admit to being more than a bit taken back by the choice of Cruise. Then again, I've known really big guys who couldn't intimidate a marshmallow, as well as more than one guy who couldn't hit the six-foot mark on their best day and who would cause even Reacher to pause before messing with them. Can Cruise pull it off? Well, I'm in the crowd of those who really hope he can.
From what I've read here and elsewhere, it's a big fucking deal to get ANY book made into a movie. A dream come true for most writers. And what a thrill for a writer to have a bunch of big names sign on and get the thing done. Good for you, Lee Child, and best of good luck with this venture.
It's unfortunate but true, the movie audience (in general) is far bigger than the reading audience (in general). It will be interesting to hear from people who see the movie first and then read the books and decide the print version of Reacher just doesn't match up with the Reacher they've come to know and love in the movie. What? You know it'll happen. That prospect makes me smile. But I've got a twisted sense of humour.
Ah, the power of stories. I love it. I can only hope that one day I write a book with a character so beloved that people lose all sense of civility in discussions about casting for a movie.
Great post, Alex. And I love that cover!
I know it seems hideously unfair, Steve, but the movie is NOT for Reacher fans. Die hard Reacher fans could stay home en masse and it wouldn't mean a thing to the box office. The vast majority of people who will see this movie will never have heard of Reacher, or Lee Child. The vast majority of people who see this movie will maybe have read one book in a year, that's the statistical average.
It would be fantastic if someone put together an indie film that was EXACTLY the story of the book with the closest thing to casting that we could think of. It could be a little gem that we would all treasure as our own little secret. Kind of like the French movie made of Harlan Coben's Tell No One.
Is that the best thing for the books? I really am asking.
I have to disagree with whoever said Cruise wasn't convincing in Collateral. I thought he did a brilliant job and was VERY convincing.
Honestly, when I read the Reacher books — and I love them and the character — I don't even think of him as a big guy. I know he's described that way, but I see more attitude than size and I think Cruise is an excellent actor who will have to stretch a bit — as he did in Collateral — to play the role. But I think we'll forget very quickly that's he's not a giant of a man.
I remember a similar outcry when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman. Yet Keaton did an excellent job to amazing box office.
I'd also note that when Terry Kinney was first cast as Gunderson from one of my books, I was surprised. Gunderson is in his early thirties and ponytailed. Kinney is 57, with a shaved head, goatee–yet he played the part to perfection. I was extremely pleased with his performance.
So don't judge until you see the final product.
Look if Lee Child sold the film rights to his book to Tom Cruise, then we are at the mercy of whomever he chooses. If he wants to cast himself, it is a huge mistake. Hell they wanted Cary Grant for Vito Corleone. Actually the only person I've ever thought of as Jack Reacher was Chuck Conners of "Rifleman" fame. Reacher has an old western feel to the character, Cruise is too urban.
Keith, I completely agree with you here:
>>>If we are lucky we will get a great movie, called 'One Shot' with a character called Reacher that pinches the jist of the book, but has little other connection to the canon.
'One Shot' is probably one of the easier of the Reacher stories to treat in this way, and also the one that doesn't really require the presence of someone with a physical presence.<<<<<
I am HOPING for that. Anything above that is a miracle. But miracles do happen.
I didn't actually say that readers don't understand the workings of Hollywood. But then again, I don't think anyone really understands the workings of Hollywood, any more than any of us understand the workings of the weather.
Yeah…he's a great actor. Go rent Eyes Wide Shut. That was a real winner. Cruise can't act his way out of a paper bag. Carry a franchise. Oh boy. I think this is the worst casting ever and don't really care what anyone else thinks. It was a stupid choice, but I guess a done deal. I'll just keep reading the books and skip the movie. Oh…don't get me wrong, I liked Cruise in the Mission Impossible movies and a few others. But as Reacher. Not.
I get that a movie will never be like the book, all the Harry Potter books being the best example. If everything in the books got to the screen all the movies would have been split up into two parts, even three. Some of the early Stephen King books that got to the big screen were horrible. Sure in a perfect world if a movie would be 'scene for scene' the same as the book that would be great. I also get that the movie is not solely directed at Reacher fans, but the backlash that is should be hardly surprising. Who knows what the deal was with the rights between Lee Child and Paramount. I did read something awhile ago that Mr. Child said he would leave the movie making stuff to the movie makers which is respectable and I'm sure that he would have given his blessing no matter what the casting choice was. It is just kind of confounding that to all the readers of the Reacher series we feel like we weren't 'consulted' which I know is a preposterous idea, but still it would have been something cool. Without the readers and buyers of his books, I'm sure this movie would not even be in the works. I think maybe Lee could have engaged us fans in some sort of a survey… who would you want to be Reacher? But of course Hollywood doesn't work that way thus the choice they made and thus the backlash that has ensued. Made for Reacher fans or not it still would have been an idea to take into consideration what the concept or essence of Reacher is. To me it is all about believability. With an actor of Cruise's type the story would have to be 'toned down' to make the violence that Reacher can dish out believable.
Rob Browne, seriously, you didn't see Reacher as a big guy in the books despite in almost every book his physical appearance is described? Wow.
I am an avid fan of the author, and the series. If Tom Cruise is anywhere near this series I , as well as a lot of friends will boycot The author and throw up for a long time to come. Reacher is supposed to be a military man——-mot some pussy assed queen hoping to renew a lost career.
Me again. I really am quite dumbfounded by all of this. RReminfds me a little bit of the furore that surrounded Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code except in that storm it was the church and other organisations vilifying the author.
Now as I said earlier, as a reader of all the Jack Reacher Novels I am not too impressed with the idea of TC playing the part, but as a reader of a book I will not be offended by him if he does. I will wait and see. But it will not make me stop seeing MY Jack Reacher.
Now, everyone is on about TC's size and by the fact that he will not be menacing enough.
I do not know what age most of you are but I am 55. So when I was growing up in the 60's and all the old black and white movies were on the telly here in the UK I can recall feeling menaced and intimidated every time Edward G Robinson at 5 feet, or James Cagney at 5 feet 5 or Humphrey Bogart at 5 feet 8 popped up on screen and so did the characters in the scene with them. I think they call it acting, but I'm not sure!
And if I watch any of those old movies today at 55, those characters are still just as intimidating and seem to fill the screen.
Just thought I would mention it,
me again, sorry for the couple of spelling mistakes in the last post, with all you writer/author types reading these my hands are a bit shaky…………….
>>>>>>>I am an avid fan of the author, and the series. If Tom Cruise is anywhere near this series I , as well as a lot of friends will boycot The author and throw up for a long time to come. Reacher is supposed to be a military man——-mot some pussy assed queen hoping to renew a lost career. <<<<<<
Thanks, this post pretty much sums up why I was compelled to write this blog today.
Holy moly. If controversy is good for a film, I think Lee and Cruise have a hit on their hands.
Steve, I see what you're saying. The thing is, I know Lee is very finely attuned to what fans have said through the years about Reacher and casting. The sad fact is that nobody who could finance this film gives a flying fuck what Lee thinks about who should play Reacher and he would have been outright lying to you and other fans if he'd ever given the impression that he had any power over it. He knows the business about as well as anyone can. I have to think that he knows that someone optioning or buying the books means NOTHING – that no matter what looks like it's going to happen, the exact opposite could happen the next day. The process is so mutable it's not even funny. That's why I keep urging people to wish for a good outcome – and try not to be too attached to what you think perfection is. I am not in any way kidding when I say hope for a miracle.
Esperem aí , vocês querem que o personagem seja bem retratado ou não? Se estão atrás de bilheteria então contratem qualquer ator bom, até Will Smith um campeão de bilheteria.Mas se querem um filme que prima pela coerência e boa escolha de elenco e talento eu fico com a lista de Doc Holly, mas especificamente Vincent D'Onofrio. Ele tem razão quando diz que ele talvez não tenha um nome "hollywoodano", mas cara, toda vez que eu vejo a performance desse ator eu me surpreendo. Ele rouba a cena de cada filme em que participa!
When I think of Reacher, I think of a guy who has big shoulders with big arms attached to them. He's bigger than most. He takes no prisoners. Tom Cruise cannot pull this off. Stay true to the story fricken idiots.
Desculpe, coloquei meu comentário acima mas esqueci de especificar, TRANSLATE IN GOOGLE PORTUGUESE, NOT SPANISH, OK? Thanks.
This may go to show just how out of the loop I am, but this was the first place I saw that Tom Cruise was playing Jack Reacher. I'm indifferent on the choice, I may go to see the movie out of pure curiosity though.
One thing this reminds me of, though: When all the Evanovich fans started SCREAMING about the casting of Katherine Heigl to play Stephanie Plum in One for the Money! I still will probably see it (not a fan of the casting of Morelli though).
As far as Reacher… I really had someone like Cruise in mind, his facial features aren't very recognizable now (they were back in the "Top Gun" days though), and it just seems to fit. Hopefully they'll do Tripwire justice, though. It was always my favourite of Lee's books.
The thing that absolutely baffles me about all of this is the vitriol. I understand that a number of people are disappointed about the casting. Many of them have expressed disappointment, politely. But to blast Lee Child, the guy who gave us the character we all claim to love so much, about something OVER WHICH HE HAS NO CONTROL – I just don't get it.
Lee is being very classy about it all, as are most people on all sides of the conversation. I wish everyone would follow that example.
Tom, it's dumbfounding but it's also interesting!
Couldn't agree with you more about Cagney (watching a lot of him lately, and just WOW), Robinson and Bogart. It's acting, it's suspension of disbelief, it's magic, what can I say? As often as Hollywood fucks up, there's still magic.
My disdain for Tom Cruise as Reacher (nothing to do with physical qualities, or lack thereof) affects my even wanting to read any more books about him… I would forever picture him as Tom Cruise. You can say whatever you want to, imply that people don't know what they are talking about as far as what they think they want (or don't want), but the fact that so many people have a negative response to Cruise as Reacher should tell YOU something. Reacher was one of my absolute favorite characters, and now I feel as if I lost an old friend because if Cruise is in place, Reacher is forever out for me, because let's face it, Hollywood loves franchises… this is just the beginning.
Sorry wrong actor. please announce that this was an error in casting judgement and you will continue to hunt for " Jack Reacher" Or as fans we will exercise our judgement and not see the movie!
Willow, my goodness, you need to tune out Hollywood, then. The movie doesn't even exist yet! It might all fall to pieces tomorrow. Just mute the noise like you would mute a commercial, if it bothers you, you don't have to let any of this stuff into your mind.
Alexandra, thank you for posting this blog about Reacher. I really love the series. A good movie or a bad movie will not change how I feel about this series and it certainly will not make me stop buying the books.
I understand where you are coming from regarding Tom Cruise's reported role in "One Shot", although I don't agree with all your opinions. Although I don't like the signing of Tom Cruise, I can't think of anyone who could pull off Reacher perfectly–regardless of size, build, or color of his skin. Funny, I can completely imagine Densel Washington as Reacher, but my mind just can't compute Tom Cruise. I'll still go see the movie, knowing it won't be as good as the book, but what book-based movies are? Not many, in my opinion. I do hope that this movie deal works out and Reacher is on the big screen in 2013, regardless of who plays the lead.
It is unfortunate that people have chosen to take anything that you wrote in your blog personally. I hope that this experience does not dissuade you, or others, from posting in regard to the Reacher series. Keep the books coming, Lee!!
I worry about the endless close-ups that decorate every Cruise film (and that put me to sleep). I hope it's not a standard part of his contract. Reacher would be appalled.
Me again It really is quite unbelievably sad that people who purport to love an authors output are threatening to stop buying his books because of the possibility that Tom Cruise MAY or MAY not play the lead character in a film adaptation of one of his novels. As I said in my previous blog on this subject, Mr Cruise would not be my first choice to portray this character, but at the end of the day IT IS NOT MY CHOICE THAT COUNTS.
I, like the other readers I suspect, of books by any author, choose to read them because they have been personally recommended to us, or as is the case with my most recent favourite author Michael R Hicks where I have stumbled across them and then I buy every book he has written, and read them in the space of a week. That was 6 books by the way and to tell the truth I am alternating between No 6 and another couple of books I have on the go at the moment. But my point is I love the books and the characters IN THE BOOKS. I do not think there is any book that I have read, where I have seen a movie representation of it first and then decided to read the book afterwards. The books are always, always a much more fuller and descriptive laden piece of literary work than any movie can ever hope to be.
So all of this talk about boycotting the author really is leaving me rather perplexed especially when you consider, and I can't state this for fact as I am not an author, but I would think that someone who sits down and produces a book for people like us, do it for a couple of reasons, not least of all by the fact that they all seem to have such amazing abilities to put together and relate a well written story that develops in their mind and is just begging their inner self to be placed onto paper, or kindle or e reader, choose your own format here. And I'll bet while they are sitting there in the middle of the night hammering away at their keyboard the last thing they are thinking about is a) am I going to have a best seller on my hands and b) I wonder who is going to play the lead in the movie of this book. Well maybe one or two of them do, but I suspect not a lot of them do.
So, when they are fortunate enough to actually then get published and people like you and I pick them up and and we are then joined by hundreds of thousands of others around the world, good luck to them I say, I wish it was me (and envy of your favourite authors is not a bad thing either). Is it any wonder then when a movie deal does come along that that same author is going to grab it with both hands, of course it is not, so stop being so naive in all of this and give the guy a break.
I will say it again about Mr Cruise, he is not my first choice, and I don't care that he leaps over sofas and jumps around like a loon proclaiming his love for a woman, I suspect most women would also love their man to do something just as daft from time to time, wouldn't yours? There is also mention of his attachment to Scientology, who cares, I can't recall him ever trying to convert me to it, so what has that got to do with it.
Read the books and forget you ever heard mention of TC. Or read the books and watch the movie and then go back to enjoying what you read. Alex put it succinctly in an earlier response. 'It is a suspension of disbelief, its Magic" and that applies to both celluloid and BOOK.
@Steve Cope: Yes, seriously. I realize he's described that way, but I rarely think about the physical characteristics of a character. I think more in terms of attitude. What kind of attitude does that character present. And Reacher's attitude is much more defined by his words and actions than his physical size.
Do I think Cruise is ideal? No. I would have gone with Liam Neesan, who was so damn good in TAKEN playing a very Reacher-like character (once things got going), but I also think Cruise is a very good, very charismatic actor who will bring his own take to a hero that, frankly, most of the audience will never have met before.
I also don't like the idea of dismissing a movie before I've at least had a chance to see a trailer or the movie itself. I wanted to dismiss David Fincher's version of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, because I loved the Swedish version and think the casting for Elizabeth Salander is weak compared to Nomi Rapace, but I waited for the trailer and was very pleasantly surprised.
I'm hoping I will be with Cruise as well.
Oh. Come. On.
Hollywood can make Superman fly, Red Skull red, numerous animals talk, aliens seem real, and destroy the earth annually with disaster after disaster but they can't make Tom Cruise tall? The bulk of people on the list complaining about the choice are basing that choice on a select, and biased sampling of Cruise's work. He is versatile, talented, charismatic, and I've always sensed a stirring rage just below the surface I think will be great for Reacher.
As for the guy who said Cruise never did an accent: watch Far and Away. Great movie. Great accent.
Me again, it is 1.45 am in the UK so I am off to bed, please keep the noise down for the rest of the night
Gerard Butler……………….See A law abiding citizen.
Are your `Eyes Wide Shut?` or are you by any chance a Scientologist as well????? Just a thought. I have read all 14 of Lee Childs` books several times and Tom Cruise does not enter into the equation.
I'm sorry, but the movies you used as examples of Cruise's talent were all, without exception, movies I could not see through to the end. And using Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie as an example made me remember the painful experience of watching Rainman…like watching a visiting professional play the lead in a community theater production, as Hoffman was so far above and beyond his fellow lead character. I will never again pay money to watch Tom Cruise play Tom Cruise being an actor.
As for Brad Pitt, if you think he's a pretty boy, you haven't seen Kalifornia. He could play Reacher if he was five feet tall.
Gerard Butler would have been a better choice than Nancy boy Cruise.
Come to think of it Pamela Anderson would have been better than the couch jumping Cruise
Jack's 6'5" height, his quietly intimidating presence is part of the whole Reacher persona and character. While I agree with Alex that TC can carry a movie, is actually a very good actor, and has big box office draw, there is an actor with a rather impressive background – maybe not on the same scale as TC – the right look, and he's 6'4" tall. Check out Adam Baldwin – NOT related to the infamous Baldwin Bros!! From his early movie role as Ricky Lindeman in My Body Guard – remember the big jacket -, to his characterization of Major Mitchell in Independence Day, plus various characters on Stargate SG-1, NCIS, JAG, and Bones, and his current role of John Casey on 'Chuck', his stature and quietly intimidating style would be a perfect fit for Jack Reacher. Not that Lee Child or any of the Producers would take any of our comments to heart, putting the less that 6' tall TC into Reacher's shoes/boots – with lots of tissue paper in the toes so they might fit – is as foolish a casting decision as putting Alec Baldwin into the role of John Patrick Ryan in Hunt for Red October. *everyone on the planet knows that JPR can only be played by Harrison Ford!!) Thank goodness they had Sean Connery in the cast to hold it together. The Jack Reacher role might be the catalyst that moves Adam Baldwin into movie stardom. Check him out on IMBD. Love ya Tom, but Adam is the man. I'm just sayin!!
"We’re book people, people, we’re supposed to be smart. And yet what are people obsessing over about this casting? “Cruise can’t play Reacher, Reacher is 6’5”."
He just simply ISN'T Jack Reacher. It's not because of his height, it's deeper than that and that's why the "smart" people you are so ignorantly calling whiners, are calling this like it is.
I wish I didn't have so much time invested in this master piece of a character so that I could care less about this decision, but I will be forced to watch Hollywood exploit what Mr. Child has done. There are easily 25-30 other actors that are proven successes and 1000 others that aren't that could fill this roll wonderfully.
Thanks, Figgy. No worries about being dissuaded from posting. There are some outright hateful slams here and elsewhere about "midgets", "nancys", "queens", etc. but those speak for themselves. I do understand the feelings of betrayal being expressed here. It's not Tom Cruise who's betraying anyone, or Lee Child, or me, for that matter, but people are honestly invested in the character and the books and the hurt for some people is real, and as I think Steve pointed out – this is all new and some people who were hoping for something different are still in shock.
Guys, come on. I don't agree with Alex, but unless he wrote it into the contract (unlikely for a first-timer venturing into Hollywood) Lee has NOTHING to do with casting. He sold the rights to Cruise's production company. That's it.
Oh, and Adam Baldwin as Reacher is a stroke of freaking GENIUS! I was thinking Owain Yeoman (Rigsby from The Mentalist), but I think I like Baldwin better!
Have to say it's the first time in my life anyone's ever suggested I'm a Scientologist. I think I'm speechless. What if I was and I didn't know it?
After responding to this blog earlier this morning, which I found because of a FB message as I had previously clicked Like on a Lee Child blurb, I have been reading the posting with great interest. First of all I have already expressed my take on TC in the Reacher role in a previous post. However, KUDOS to Mr. Child for the elegant and descriptive prose used to create such a vivid picture of Reacher in each of our minds. I am an avid reader, I will even read cereal boxes at breakfast. Everyone is entitled to his or her own impression of who Reacher is. It seems to mean that Mr. Child has achieved one of the goals every writer may have. Strong and passionate feelings for his imaginative creation of Reacher.
Alex, you certainly have the right to be dead wrong! I'm not sure how many Reacher novels you've consumed, but I've read every one since his debut in the Killing Floor. Reacher's size and corresponing intimidation factor have been prominent in virtually every novel, from scenes where antagonists want to see if he's really "that tough" to others where they're smart enough to walk away. Reacher is well aware of this "force field" and uses it to his advantage … most of the time.
I actually like Cruise as an actor, and they may be able to construct a movie franchise around story lines in the Reacher books … for many of the reasons you cited … but Cruise IS too slight, too pretty and hardly intimidating. It may be a good movie even, but for Reacher fans, it won't be Reacher on the reel.
If it isn't, is it really a Reacher movie? Not for me.
I did some research on the imdb website. 3 people who would be REALLY GOOD as Reacher are Josh Duhamel, Austin Peck and James Scott. They have the height, age and rugged good looks for Reacher. Sorry Tom, but your 49 years are tooooo old to play this character. Don't hurt yourself by playing Reacher. Play another part in the movie, just don't play Reacher.
"Does anyone see what I’m saying? I am just as insulted by people being so literal about MY Reacher as some of you seem to be insulted by my considering everything that someone not so literal could bring to the table. It's the ESSENCE of Reacher that's most important to me."
Yes I do see what you're saying but you went off track as far as I'm concerned. You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the fact that Hollywood couldn't give 2 sh…er…care less about what Reacher fans have to say. They know that the vast majority of the movie going public will see "Tom Cruise" and "action flick" and that will be enough to make the movie moderately successful i.e. profitable. The selection of Tom Cruise to play Jack Reacher tells me immediately that the "ESSENCE" of Reacher is that last thing on Hollywood's radar screen.
Alex really. Do you really think the producers of the Superman movies would have picked Tom for Superman? You need to do some more thinking about your comments about Tom doing Reacher. There are just some characters that actors shouldn't play. If the actors like the storyline, have them do another part in the movie that would suit them better.
I guess the thing is, Lary, I'm looking at it from a much less idealistic perspective. If Tom Cruise is going to be Reacher, then Tom Cruise is going to be Reacher,, there's nothing I can do about it, it's not debatable; crying about it or raging about it, while I do understand the feelings, is a waste of energy. So because I've been an actor, and I've been a director and choreographer as well as a writer, the question for me becomes, "How do you make it play?"
You bring up those great fight scenes. Reacher walks into a bar and there are six men who are stupid enough to think they can take him. Well, if you have a mountain of a man, there's not anywhere near as much suspense as there is if you have one normal-sized man against six. It's actually more suspenseful, if you want to look at it that way. And the fight becomes about how this superb fighter and strategist is able to take six men at once by using their own size and stupidity against them. The real problem >I< would be focusing on in that scene is how are you going to make Reacher's internal thought process play, how to externalize the way he makes the decisions of who to take first and how to use which men against each other, and all that kind of thing which is what is to me so riveting about the fight scenes in the books.
But because of my background I'm looking at it from a really concrete and practical perspective. The bottom line of production is making it WORK with what you have.
I completely get what you are saying here, but to be honest, I haven't ever seen a Tom Cruise movie that I like. I know a lot of people do, but I just don't like him. I've seen Jerry Maguire, Top Gun, and Interview with a Vampire as well as others, so I've seen a range of characters, but I just don't see him as that great of an actor. I was disappointed when told that he would play this part and have no plans to go see the movie now. I will just continue to enjoy the books and what Reacher looks like in my mind.
As to the actors, I have seen several suggest Viggo Mortensen, and I believe that he would have been a great choice. I have yet to see A History of Violence, which I hear is very good, but have seen several other movies and think that he is a great actor.
There absolutely IS something you can do about it. Vote with your feet, with your wallet and with your voice in a blog, website or other social media outlet and get the word out to do the same. Don't patronize the companies that do product placement in the movie.
Or, just pretend the movie doesn't exist and keep reading the books.
Bill, yes, you're right, the essence of Reacher is the last thing on Hollywood's radar screen. But that doesn't mean it's not on McQuarrie's radar screen, or Cruise's radar screen. I prefer to hope that everyone who is ultimately involved in this production will rise to the occasion. I would never discount that that can happen, because it DOES happen. Not all the time, and not predictably, but it happens.
Momo, you go! But personally I don't believe any of that will change anything and for me it's not that important, The stories ALREADY EXIST in their ideal form.
De Sal, I believe that there are producers who would cast Zach Galifianakis as Superman. There is nothing I wouldn't believe.
Again, I think it's an absolute waste of my energy to obsess on all the ways Tom Cruise can't be Reacher. The interesting question is how he CAN be Reacher. It's a useful question for me to ponder as a writer. Obviously, it's not a question that you or anyone else here has to spend any time with.
Then Alex, you shouldn't have put your article out there to receive comments from the public. I know some people can make it personal towards you and that's ashame. They need to stay on topic with their comments. Don't let the personal remarks get you upset, because one day you will be able to convince that kind of person to look at your work instead and not at you personally. Keep well and keep doing what your doing.
I never claimed that Tom Cruise couldn't act, I simply don't like him, not even a little bit, and when you read books it is your imagination that fills in all the blanks. Having Hollywood (where I grew up by the way) come in and make someone that character, especially someone who possesses nothing of the traits the author gave the character shows little respect for the author (or the character) in my mind. I realize the movie hasn't been made, and I realize that things can change and I hope that is what happen here, but whereas books are very personal things, especially when you have an endearing ongoing character, and when that character gets personified by the likes of someone you don't like, it unfortunately (for me) ruins it. You don't have to like my response, but it is an honest response to your blog. Imagination is an intrical part of reading, and if Tom Cruise, someone I really do not care for does become Jack Reacher, it will affect my desire to read any further exploits of his. Personally I don't know who I'd pick to portray him, but (to prove size doesn't matter) I'd much rather see Russell Crowe than Tom Cruise any day.
De Sal, I'm not sure what you mean by "you shouldn't have put your article out to receive comments from the public."
I'm not upset by the comments here, except for the obvious hate stuff – which I would hope is upsetting to everyone. There are a lot of people here today who needed to get a lot of emotion out of their systems, there's nothing wrong with that. I didn't exactly write this blog with this audience in mind – the regulars here know that I blog on craft, I can absolutely see why my perspective would cause a lot of outrage to people who are NOT looking at this issue from a craft perspective. But I know I've learned a lot from the discussion and hopefully others have, too.
Thanks for the well wishes – back at you.
You obviously still carry a torch for ole Tommy Boy. Billion dollar franchise? In what universe? The man got carried away with his cult and lost his A-list appeal. I enjoy his acting and couldn't care less what he does off screen. Main stream America cares about that nonsense. Right now he is a step above Mel Gibson. All of that is unfortunate but you must deal with reality. If the film has not been made yet, i just heard of it now, I will bet the project dies prior to production. If it is produced it will fail just as Valkrie, and that other romance, comedy, action, tired bullshit film he made. The Reacher novels deserve a better chance, it is a shame.
How about Neil Patrick Harris?
Russell Crowe has the star power and the height and look as Jack Reacher. I will not see the movie if Tom Cruise is in it. It T.C thing is ridiculous.
Alex: How Cruise can do it? Okay, now that Harry Potter is done, there's a whole shitload of elves and trolls that need work. Get started on building the miniature village and I'll give him a shot. ;o)
Dolph Lungren definitely has the depth to play Reacher.
Alex,you have it allwrong.stick to your Murder/Mystery books.To play the man,you have to BE the man.Let Cruise go play another Mission Impossible film,but he's not the man to play Jack Reacher! Have you even read any of Lee Childs' books? If you had read them all,you'd understand that even though Tom Cruise has "carried many a movie" he can't do Jack Reacher any justice.He's a pipsqueak at best,and cannot portray the intimidation factor needed to be a character like Jack Reacher. As for the height factor,it DOES play a major role in the books,as he has done some moves that a shorter person couldn't carry off.
We all know that when an actor was chosen for the first James Bond they chose an unknown who became James Bond totally. That worked brilliantly and the very best Bond was Sean Connery, he is James Bond first and foremost. Surely there are still brilliant yet unknown actors who could become Reacher with the same intensity as Connery. Cruise is a brilliant actor but Reacher is a special role and needs someone who will become Reacher and not be confused with anyone else.
I am a HUGE fan of the series and I've read nearly all of the books. Reacher is a intensely dark and intimidating character. The vivid imagery that Lee Child wrote brings to mind a hulking brute who really doesn't need words to intimidate. TOM CRUISE IS NOT THE JACK REACHER WRITTEN IN THE BOOK. And I don't like it.
Hollywood could not care less how the books fans feel and you may call it whining if we express ourselves. (That's pretty ignorant of you to do by the way) But that doesn't change the fact that Cruise is, at best, a re-imagined version of original character and his stature has little to do with it. (No pun intended)
I won't watch the movie because it's just going to make me mad.
@charles raab- Dolphs too old. He'll be 54 this year. And @Jess chan- Russell is 47 this year. I just hope that TC comes to his senses with this movie and casts somebody who is appropriate for the part. I would hate to hear that Lee Child wishes that he hadn't sold his story to TC. This happened to one of Clive Cusslers characters. The movie that was made was awful. The movie industry is not willing to take a chance on a new comer like they did when they did the Superman movies, Lost Raiders of the Ark, Star Wars, etc…….. The Industry really needs to do their homework when a piece like Lee Child, Clive Cussler, Vince Flynn and others have written about a character in their books. These authors have done their research to produce a best seller. The number of books sold is the proof. Now it's your turn Movie Industry. Can you achieve the same level of quality to your work, as has the authors have done in theirs? Good Luck.
Rule 1 Movies are almost always worse than the book(s)
Rule 2 Hollywood doesn't give a damn about being true to the book, especially for potential blockbusters. All Hollywood cares about is box office.
Rule 3. Hollywood doesn't give a damn what readers of the books think, because readers are such a small part of the box office (see rule 2)
Rule 4 Once Hollywood gets the book rights it doesn't give a damn what the author thinks. Just ask Tom Clancy what happened when he went public about the ending to Patriot Games. Hollywood just gave him the finger.
Rule 5 Remember you are readers first and movie goers second. If you love a book and fear Hollywood is really going to screw it up don't go see the movie. There have been movies I have refused to go to because they would screw up my vision of the book.
Rule 6 Way too many people worry way too much about what happens in Hollywood. Compared to all other aspects of life, including reading good books, Hollywood is irrelevant.
Yes the books are still the books. Yes Tom is a brilliant actor and could possibly pull this movie off. Just put him in some of his high heeled shoes he likes wearing.
I just don't see Cruise as Reacher. It's just like asking James Woods to play Jack Crow in the movie Vampires. It didn't work then and I don't see it working now.
My short list would be:
Dwayne Johnson – He has grown quite a bit as an actor and I think he could pull off the action, the humor and the character and he is old enough to be seasoned but not too old that he couldn't head a franchise.
Gerard Butler – He has the stature and I think he has the chops to pull it off.
Daniel Craig – maybe
I don't think Viggo, Mark Walberg, Jeff Goldblum, Johnny Depp, Clive Owen, Jason Statham or Robert Downey Jr. would be good choices, but they would be better than Cruise.
Those suggesting that the name of Jack Reacher should be sullied by having anyone like Dolf Lundgren or Stephen Seagal play him should wash their mouths out with soap because they have clearly lost all sense of taste. Lundgren & Seagal combined couldn't act their way out of a paper bag.
Lee Marvin in his prime would have been perfect as Reacher.
I just wanted Alex to have 200 comments. That might be a record for us here at Murderati 🙂 …
Thanks Alex, cos your rant has made me look at this potential catastrophe (lol) as an okay situation now 🙂 And yes, I agree…this movie may be just as good as the book – doesn't happen often, but it may. One can only hope. Only movie/book I have liked in my entire breathing existence is To Kill A Mockingbird. Fingers crossed! 🙂
I'm not concerned about Tom Cruise playing Reacher and I'm aware of his acting skills, I loved him in a Few Good Men and have thought him to be one of the best. I also ink that there is no man to live up to the Reacher image in my head, therefore the film will be viewed as a film not in relation to the book and that would be the case no matter who played the part. I rarely feel incensed enough to comment on blogs but this "opinion" is insultinging and derogatory to readers and fans of the Reacher books. While each persons opinion is valid I feel calling the people who made Lee Child a bestseller whiners is probably the best way to go about alienating readers in general. We are not the ones saying Reachers size is important, Lee is the one saying this, Lee is the one reiterating this continually throughout each book, Lee is the one that made this the most important point of his character. Therefore do not blame the readers when they look to someone who fulfills this physicality for the lead role. If our opinions as readers does not matter then why publish the books. I have know doubt that Tom will pull off the role ill be happy to see that happen and when he does I'm sure you will feel smug in your choice of words but I for one and I'm sure many others will not bother picking up one of your books knowing that you have such a low regard for your readers and their freedom of opinion.
As I haven't read all of the posts, my choice for Reacher would be Hugh Jackman. Call me biased (being and Aussie) but I think he would be perfect for the role. Not only can he act, He is beefcake for the ladies, someone most men would like to be and, he is tall enough.
Some of Hollywood's apparent miscasting has turned out great, but to use James Bond as an example is in my opinion not a good basis of comparison. James Bond was 'typecast' a long LONG time ago and all but one of the actors to play him have fit in with that typecast nicely, suave pretty boys. I don't refer to Daniel Craig as the apparent miscast, but while good looking and semi suave, he, too, is off the mark for what came before him and yet I admit that his Bond has been my favorite Bond. From my point of view, the others had somewhat of a cartoonish appearance to them, they fought the bad guys while barely wrinkling their suits. Daniel Craig could wear the suit, but he none-the-less had a grittiness to him the others (in my opinion) lacked, a quality that I picture a spy having, at least one as physical as Bond is.
Don't write a blog if you aren't open to various and differing opinions, and the fact that most of the readers here have such a negative response to Tom Cruise as Reacher should tell you something… dismissing them as merely petty is a mistake, we readers – especially us devotees of a particular character – are the ones who embrace the character the writer set before us (as a writer yourself I would think that knowledge would both excite and please you).
Most everything (it seems) in life anymore is about making money, and while I realize that Mr. Cruise has clout in Hollywood, it bothers me that Lee Child would option a character he so finely crafted to Tom Cruise… like many stated before me here, it is impossible for me to see Tom Cruise as anything/anyone but Tom Cruise, and that is my biggest complaint about his being Jack Reacher… he might be entertaining (to some) as Jack Reacher, but he will never become Jack Reacher. There is a depth to a role that I've never (personally) seen Cruise reach.
The fact that Lee Child would option even the potential for Tom Cruise as a possible Jack Reacher begs the assumption that his fans care more about Reacher, the Reacher he gave them, than he does. He may be willing to sell him out, we apparently aren't. What you are seeing here, Alex, is loyalty to a beloved character.
Lindy, what I don't get is why you and a few of the other posters here think I was calling YOU whiners, specifically. I've never interacted with most of the people who posted here yesterday in my life. I've never read what you have to say on the subject or any other. As far as I know this was your first time on this site. So why would you think I was talking to you, much less calling you names?
I specifically said that people were whining on Listservs in the mystery community. Are you on Dorothy L? Do you post here on Murderati or one of the other mystery boards? That's where I was seeing the posting I was responding to.
I think a lot of people dropped in yesterday from – I don't even know where, maybe the boards on Lee's site, maybe people are just tracking the issue. Those people have no idea what my regular blogs are and are taking my post completely out of context. Others are not reading what I'm saying at all – they just want to vent about Tom Cruise.
The rage that came out from posters yesterday was a whole lot different from the whining I was responding to. I am appalled and disgusted by the homophobia and nastiness toward short men that was coming out yesterday, and hope never to see anything like that here again. But I am also EXTREMELY sympathetic to the people who were expressing real sorrow and rage at what they see as terrible casting of a beloved character. It was not at all a shock to me but I understand it was a shock to you.
I really am sorry if I inadvertently rubbed salt in that wound for some of you. If I had had any idea that I would be talking to way more than my usual audience I probably would have handled it differently. But I was doing what I ALWAYS do, here – I blog on craft and the relationship between novels and filmmaking. That's not what you wanted to hear. But I don't mind that it turned into a venue for venting. As I said, I learned a lot.
But again, it's not Tom Cruise, or Lee Child or me who has betrayed you. The film industry is an inexorable force. But please don't give up hope that good things can happen.
Willow, I think it's wonderful and touching that you have that kind of loyalty to Reacher. Believe me, I do, too.
I posted back to you not because I don't like what you're saying but because I'm concerned that you would abandon the character because of the whims of Hollywood. You can't do anything about what Hollywood does, but please don't let it spoil your pleasure in reading. Hollywood has absolutely zero to do with the books.
Alexandra. You are getting lots of replies from people who you don't know because this blog has been posted all over facebook. The problem with written word is that it is often perceived in the way of the reader and if I have misunderstood your comments then I apologise but it did read (to me and others by the looks of the replies) as if you were commenting on Reacher fans in general. I have not read any comments on this website regarding the casting of Tom until today and can only say that I have no time for anybody who gets personal regarding height, race, religion etc. I have to say that those people who have commented in this way make me more hopeful that the film will be a success.
As the saying goes "you can't please all of the people all of the time". Tom will never be my Reacher but I will watch the film on its own merit and I would never allow the casting choice or frankly the adaption of any book to film interfere with my reading. For me the pleasure comes from the world your mind and the book takes you too where as from a film I'm looking for entertainment on a plate which Tom almost always gives :-). So yes I will watch the film and yes I'm sure I will enjoy, my frustration is purely with the idea (which I interpeted from your blog) that we who read Reacher are not capable of stepping beyond the physicality of the character and thus are "whining" lol. Anyway I'm glad to hear you do not think of all us readers in such a way and that your blog was aimed at those who are being offensive in their opinions. Me….I'm waiting with baited breath for the next Reacher book and stepping back from the whole debate because it's easy to get personal when the character is so amazing that they become personal to yourself.
I stopped reading at:
to me Reacher’s size and six-pack are completely incidental to the man.
I just can't believe you have actually read any books in the series. Yes he's an anti-hero, yes there's a lot more to him than just his general size/bulk/etc, but completely incidental? Given the amount of detail Child always goes into about what his physique allows him to do that a "normal" looking-man just couldn't? Despite the fact that his chest is so well developed that he can sustain being shot with a small-calibre pistol?
Are you kidding me?
I'm actually quite well versed in the film understand and completely appreciate the economics of casting Cruise. That said, he's more a personality than actor at this point which is a huge detractor when a new film franchise is beginning. There were much better choices with which to start a new film series. Some actors are huge names and accept many projects but are smart enough to keep themselves in the background so viewers can continue to suspend disbelief when they assume a new character. Cruise has become larger than life which makes it much harder to see him in a role as a character. You see Cruise. Travolta and Gibson deal with similar handicaps.
I don't doubt that Tom Cruise can do a good job. What frustrates me is that he seems wrong for Reacher. He could be cast in any other action movie not associated with the series and it wouldn't be a big deal. The idea (and I know this is Hollywood and it drives me nuts) that they need a big name to carry a franchise like the Reacher one is what bothers me. I just think there are so many other actors out there who might fit the role better and that the books themselves are popular enough not to have to rely on an actor everyone is familiar with. Plus, if a franchise of films is the plan, I can see Cruise becoming too old for the part very quickly.
Obviously anytime there's a passionate fanbase like this, not everyone is going to be happy with the casting. What remains to be seen is the finished film and I'm open to it. I just wish it was someone else playing the role. I've admittedly not seen much mention of anyone I think would be totally appropriate either, though. My own perceptions of the character make it difficult.
Another frustrating point is that with all the remakes in Hollywood and the readers who are also movie fans and want something different out there, I kind of worry that if the Reacher adaption and the Evanovich adaptation ultimately fail at the box office, it would not bode well for future adaptations of the same kind. We shall see.
I find it hard to imagine Tom Cruise as Reacher, but I'm open to his attempt – my first choice would be Vincent D'Onofrio – a seasoned actor with the ability to step into character and bring you along for the journey before you realize where you are…
Okay, my wife and I are getting into this. We both love Reacher. When I first began reading the series my boyhood idol came to mind when I envisioned Reacher: CHUCK CONNORS. In my mind Reacher was the modern reincarnation of the Rifleman – still is. At least in my mind.
My wife may disagree. Markedly.
But I'm looking forward to seeing the movie anyway, even without Chuck. Rest in Peace, Lucas McCain.
I'm the wife mentioned in the comment above. And I get my husband's hint. So this comment's for him. Who do I picture as Reacher? You, honey. Of course.
Now I'll return to my unrelated fantasy featuring Denzel Washington and Matt Damon.
Thanks for writing back, Lindy, I think we both understand where we're coming from, now. It's very clear to me that there are lots of readers who object to this casting for more than purely physical reasons that I completely, entirely understand! Hollywood broke my heart over casting a long time ago and I can write about it more objectively now, but oh, God, I know what it feels like. My own way of dealing with it is to look at it from a craft perspective and exactly as you say – focus on that next book. CANNOT WAIT!
Meg and Paul, LOL! Of course, the SO is ALWAYS first pick for Reacher!
Paul, you're not the only one who's mentioned Chuck Connors.
And MileHighGran, I so understand the people who are arguing that the casting should have been an unkonwn, so that as you say, the actor isn't bringing all that personality baggage to the role. It's the Catch-22 of the business; we get tired of the actors who are always cast, but they're always cast because the studios don't want to take risks on an unknown. Very frustrating.
Becky, I agree, there are all kinds of potential problems with the franchise. I've heard people mention (the discussion today) the idea of multiple Reachers as there were multiple Bonds. Personally I think that would be an exciting way to go.
Having been married to a man who was imposing enough that people crossed the street to avoid him when he looked like a thundercloud (even though he was short) I'm not so hung up on size but Cruise couldn't look tough or imposing if his life depended on it. At least he'd never convince me he had the disciplined mind or physical hardness to intimidate a soul. Why can't we have Gerard Butler? I have no idea how tall he is but he's imposing. And he carried '300' quite well. I won't be going to see this one. The only way we have of voicing our discontent is by putting our money where our mouths are.
Reacher's height is part of who he is, Mr.Child put a lot into Reacher's height influencing who Reacher is you can't ignore this if you've read more than one chapter of any Reacher novel. Tom Cruise cannot, CANNOT, pull that off. Liam Neeson, Viggo Mortenson and even Aaron Eckhart are excellent options. George Clooney, Brad Pitt aren't intimidating enough, they are fine actors in their own right but not for this character. Unless I see a suitable actor cast i doubt I'll even watch the movie. 90% of the time Hollywood ruins the story of the book they've turned into a movie, I doubt they'll handle this one right either.
Wrong. One of the main traits of Reacher is his size. Otherwise Lee Child wouldn't talk about it so much in the books. Now I agree that this can be overcome with camera angles. But are they also going to increase the size of Toms shoulders to show the sheer bulk of Reacher? Doubt it. Plus as has been said before Tom "s**t eating grin" Cruise is too pretty. And Tom being a Major in the MP's? Don't make me laugh.
Adam and Teresa, honestly, I'm not ignoring that Reacher is tall in the books, it's just that his height is in no way as fascinating to me as his many other qualities.
People. It's time to go to TC's FB page, his blog and any other website that you can think about to convince TC not to play Reacher. No name calling please. Keep on topic while trying to convince TC. Any suggestions for another actor to play Reacher just keep in mind the age of the character in the book. Some of the suggestions I've read to whom who should be Reacher are now to old to play the part. For ex: Liam Neesom, Dolph Lundgren, etc., etc.,,,,,, Good Luck.
Casting the right actors for the lead characters is the linchpin for the success of any movie made from a novel. Miscasting characters can have a negative domino effect on the rest of the production. A prime example of this rests with two novels by James Ellroy.
L.A. Confidential is a long, complex and dark novel, beautifully adapted for the screen, while The Black Dahlia fails miserably partially due to miscasting the main role. The screenplay for LAC is a heavily condensed and re-imagined version of the book, with the characters maintaining their integrity. These brutal, corrupt, ambitous people are the same as in the book. Russell Crowe IS Bud White….Guy Pearce IS Ed Exley…James Cromwell IS Dudley Smith, etc. No changes were visibly made to accomodate the actors. You can re-read L.A.Confidential and imagine every character from the movie in the book. I have. Now imagine Tom Cruise instead of Russell Crowe as Bud White, assaulting wife-beaters, beating up a Distrct Attorney and hanging him out the window by his ankles, and in the name of justice murdering a suspect, then stage the scene to look like he did it in self-defense.
In the Black Dahlia, a disaster of a movie, pretty-boy Josh Hartnett, a bit taller than Tom Cruise but similalry miscast, plays Bucky Bleichert, a typically tormented, corrupt James Ellroy character. With his pomaded hair parted down the middle and dark clothing, he is laughable and distracting. Admittedly this movie failed on many other levels; however, it remains that miscasting the main character or characters will doom the film regardless of how well the rest is produced.
I can't really see our Tom being a 3XLT??
Acting – fine
Physicality – can't happen.
THANK YOU! I've been screaming for weeks that this debate is about people having a prejudice against short men (and looking up, I can see it firsthand). I'm glad someone is saying what I've been thinking! Look, I think Tom Cruise is a nut, but he's a TALENTED nut who makes good movies and is really a very good actor. Too short? Claude Raines was a tiny man, but find someone who could steal a scene from him.
You seem to make some good suggestions, but the only actor I ever considered is Dwayne Johnson. He has a presence, he can carry the weight of the film and in my opinion is an excellent actor- he's got many layers. I've enjoyed Some Tom Cruise films, loved Minority Report, for what it
was. He is not the character that I have been reading about for 20 years and it will really ruin the movie for me, as Ive always looked forward to seeing our Military man on the big screen.
No offense to Tom Cruise. No way is he Jack Reacher. Although what you wrote seemed a loudly to on the side of Hollywood and not enough on the side of fans and Jack Reacher!
Reacher needs to be physically imposing. Cruise is not. Additionally, Reacher is African-American (i.e., black). How about Jeffrey Wright? He can act and do action films. Or that guy from NCIS Los Angeles? Please, they only want Tom Cruise to draw in the non-Reacher fans!
I do agree about the women cast in certain roles. And I am willing to stretch credibility – but only up to a point and they overshot that point by a mile by casting Tom Cruise!
Actually, Sab, I'm not siding with anyone. What I do here on this blog is write about the craft of writing and specifically the relationship between film and novels. People who read this blog know that. I wrote a post about the casting of a major star in a major book series because I wanted to talk about the actual, PRACTICAL aspects of casting in Hollywood, which a lot of people don't know anything about. And then a lot of Reacher fans who are really angry about the casting showed up and started venting because they don't have a way of venting at Hollywood. I understand that, but to think that I was somehow dissing them when I've never had any interaction with them in my life just doesn't make any sense.
I'm wondering – which fans am I supposed to side with? If you read through just the comments on these posts, you'll see there are people saying that only Liam Neeson can play Reacher, and others like you saying Dwayne Johnson. Those two men aren't even in the same universe; one is a major actor, the other is an ex-wrestler. Others of the "fans" posting on Saturday are scary homophobes. The fans you're talking about aren't speaking with one voice.
Since you mentioned Claude Rains (5'61/2"), do you think Tom Cruise could play Capt. Renault in Casablanca ?
Could he play Phillip Marlowe in The Big Sleep rather than Humphrey Bogart (5'8") ?
Could he even play Canino in The Big Sleep rather than Bob Steele (5'5") ?
This isn't about size. He's just TOTALLY inappropriate to play Jack Reacher
Your Murderati rant was linked by the LC FB webmaster "makes a great case for the OS movie" (which doesn't exist yet but somehow's already being PR'd)…and is not at all specifically addressed to those who posted offensive material. Phrases like "people from the mystery community" & "this tempest the Cruise casting is causing" certainly seem to cast a wider net than the offenders. Maybe it's not impossible to understand why someone, already reeling, hears themselves called out. Castigated so strongly (vastly ignorant, etc,), so summarily dismissed (get over it) for caring so deeply. About a made up guy. Ain't that a writer's consummation devoutly to be wished? Ok, their own perception of that character but isn't that a result of the author's skill and intent? Perhaps the "whining" is not only over a feeling of personal disappointment but a betrayal of the author as well? What seemed so dismissive & demeaning was that with all the effort goes into getting readers to care…P&A, web stuff, cultivation of personal connection…the purpose of which is, frankly, to sell books…when Reader/Buyers react so personally & passionately, they are essentially told to eat cake.
Lastly (promise), maybe's it's about more than physical characteristics. Film is illusion. Day for night, etc. Maybe it's gravitas. Quiet strength. Never taking the bow, never seeking approval or adulation. Often just walking away. No jot of the always trying-too-hard "love me/look at me" thing.
On the other hand, since the author does emphasize over & over & over again, in all 16 novels, Reacher's sheer mass maybe it's not utterly inconsequential.
Miscasting does exist. It can ruin a movie, scuttling others. So neither is it inconsequential.
Also, maybe there was some screenplay anxiety somewhere in the reaction. Even a vastly, stupefyingly ignorant movie going groundling could know that Movie Stars can & do alter characters to suit their perceived personas. Maybe there was some concern about the author's creation being subverted. And the writer betrayed.
As for keeping-open-minds, the fuss wasn't a movie review but a reaction to an element of the movie package. Arguably, the most important one.
Reacher is an embodiment of many of what's best about the rapidly vanishing, apparently politically incorrect but once most admired qualities of masculinity. Unfortunate to trade that for pyrotechnics, smirking and endless quipping.
Then again, what's the big deal? Only a movie. Only a novel…
As they say folks, it is what it is.
Cruise bought the film rights and has the right to take this down whatever path he chooses.
Certainly he wants the financial success of a sustainable series, which Reacher richly deserves.
One can only hope that Cruise will listen to the blow back reaction to his decision to play this formidable character, and will allow at least his business sense to reach out to another "star" of more appropriate acting dimensions.
Have you ever read any of the Reacher books? A big deal is made of his size in EVERY book. It doesn't matter what else, if you can't even try to approximate that with an actor then you've failed miserably.
I won't be paying any money to watch Tom Cruise play the miniature version of Reacher.
I think Cruise is a great actor, and I hope he can pull off this role because I agree, he can make the franchise big. But he is probably my third choice – first two are Liam Neeson and Hugh Jackman. They both can do the reserved, serious, and intimidating role that I think Reacher requires. Can't wait to see the movie, though!
Charles, again, I have to say – you are NOT a regular reader of the blog. If I had any idea that so many of you who are as you rightly say, reeling, from the casting would be my audience for this blog I would have handled it completely differently, as I have been trying to do in my responses to these comments. You came here not having any idea that I blog on the PRACTICAL aspects of craft, filmmaking and novel writing and the relationship between the two. It's not what you wanted to hear on this subject. But you're taking offense where absolutely none was directed at you.
You and other fans DO deserve empathy for your shock and even maybe heartbreak. You DO have mine. I understand that it's a loss. I refuse to let Hollywood hold me hostage like that, but I have had a long time to detach from it. I hope you can detach from it enough not to let it alter your perception of the books. And always remember – nothing is ever final in this world. There may be many different film versions of the books to come. I hope so.
But no matter what, the books remain forever the books.
Michael, I agree with every single word that you said except would add Russell Crowe to the list!
Hoping for all the best.
Hey, at least we're all talking about the movie.
Appreciate the response. As I said, your piece got posted & touted by FB LC webmaster & so made to appear, even if not your intent, as the last word in retorts to anyone audacious enough not to palpitate & salivate over the stated casting choice. Perhaps the root of any misinterpretation starts with that move. As for the myriad suggestions of other actors, lots & lots are equally wrong headed. No matter. Not the point. What screamed was the idea of all the time & effort expended on making readers fall in love with a character but then get knuckle-wrapped for responding like a lover…passionately. Huh?
As for offensive posters, an asshole's an asshole an asshole and surely by any other name would smell as foul… certainly not worth defending, even discussing…
Also, I do happen to read MURDERATI yet did not see the distinction.
Finally, a hugely successful, much admired author once said the best thing a novelist can do is to cash the movie rights check before it bounces, then hope the movie never gets made. Another well-known novelist, when asked which of the movies made of his books was his favorite, responded without the slightest hesitation, the most recent. Even though it was critically panned & bombed at BO. His reason? Its release got all his backlist reissued & "moved a ton of product".
What the hell, maybe that's the point…
I don't see how anyone could NOT be moved by the depth of passion some people have expressed here, I know I have been. But I hadn't heard any of that passion until people started commenting here on Saturday. I'd read only snide to offensive comments before then – but again, I wasn't on the Reacher forums. (Thanks for telling me about the link being posted there, that actually explains the context of some of the posting).
I feel terrible that – well, that perfection happens so very rarely in film these days. I'm sorry if I've appeared hard about it.
Alexandra, I certainly do not consider your opinions on this subject to be insulting to Reacher fans and I do understand that a lot of other things are going to contribute to or detract from the viability of the finished work. A lot of the factors which will affect the success or failure of the film will involve how well the script can impart the story without allowing it to create drag; another big hurdle will be how the director envisions the characters, the story and the setting and whether the finished product achieves the 'feel' of the book. But one of the best things about books is that the reader's perception is such a huge factor in the enjoyment of it. All of us perceive Reacher differently, I suppose. A successful writer makes the characters very specific in some areas and rather vague in others, giving the reader the scope to paint a mental picture of them. Every reader's picture will be different. The emphasis on Reacher's size certainly precluded any of us from picturing Don Knotts. Reacher is intimidating. Cruise isn't. Unless, as my teenaged granddaughter pointed out, you happen to be a four-year-old girl.
One of the biggest disasters of an adaptation of a novel into a movie in my opinion was 'Exodus'. I loved the book, got hooked on Uris and read my way right through his books. But, regardless of how great an actor Paul Newman was, he couldn't pull off Ari Ben Canaan. And Sal Mineo was perhaps the worst possible choice for Dov Landau. Still, it might not have been half as awful if the script-writer and director had been able to convey the horror, the terror and the urgency of the period and the circumstances. They didn't. Not every aspect devolves onto the shoulders of the casting director but it's a VERY big factor. And, in this case, size may well prove to be THE pivotal factor.
I will continue to read the Reacher novels but can't imagine wasting my time with the movie unless it gets such rave reviews that I just HAVE TO see. That might be the same urge as the one that makes people crane their necks to see the 10-car collision as they drive past.
I am new to the Jack Reacher series and have read all but 61 Hours in the last 12 weeks so he is a big part of my life.
My first thought of Tom Cruise being cast to play Reacher was anger, then laughter. Reacher has a 37inch inside leg, would Cruise even reach his groin?
I think Alex made a brilliant argument with regard of the insite into the film-making industry and I will be one of the first to see the film whoever is cast. But I still can't see Cruise's head above the crowd or sitting in a corner booth alone in a crowded bar because people are affraid to sit near him.
Reacher has a presence. He is one of the best characters I have known. Thanks Lee for giving him to us.
Samtee, I couldn't agree more – SO much comes down to how the director envisions the characters and the story s/he chooses to tell.
I never saw EXODUS but I'm cringing just at your description of the casting. Oh, boy. I mean, that's the kind of disaster that happens regularly in Hollywood. Which very well might happen here, no question – but I am choosing to look at the factors that would make a GOOD movie in this situation. I have to!
Thanks for your great comments!
Bridget, I did the same thing when I first discovered the Reacher novels – read every one that had been written in a row, in a span of weeks. Now I go back and reread while waiting for each new one!
I realized a little belatedly this weekend that people have NO IDEA how short a lot of actors in Hollywood are – some of the casting choices mentioned in these comments are shorter than Tom Cruise, but their height hasn't been so widely publicized. I'm 5'7" and when I worked as a screenwriter I had a whole closet full of flat shoes because at that height I towered over not only actors, but a lot of agents and producers.
So personally I wasn't ever assuming that the actor who'd play Reacher would be huge. The odds were not great.
The rant CRUISE is REACHER smacks of a brown-noser who is sucking up to Hollywood and the insiders there while insulting Reacher fans in the same breath. I don't dislike Cruise as an actor. He is just absolutely WRONG for Reacher. Period. I will never be sold on this and will never go see a film where Cruise "plays" Reacher. Not believeable. Not worth my time or energy.
There's been a lot said about this already, but I'd like to address some points made by both Lee Child and Alexandra Sokoloff. I'm guessing from your article Ms Sokoloff you are a friend of Mr Child and you've come to his defence as a lot of people blame him for the casting of Cruise. Mr Child I'm guessing that you feel the need to defend the production companies decision whatever your personal view.
First it's a done deal Cruise's production company is making "One Shot" There is no real chance things will change, but I'll argue the case anyway and try to put into words why I believe Cruise is wrong.
Mr Child himself stated that Reacher's size was a metaphor for an unstoppable force rather than to be taken literally. My immediate response was to think "Reacher man mountain entered the room" is a metaphor "Reacher was 6 foot 5 and 280 pounds" is a description. Clearly that wasn't what Mr Child meant, but the problem remains.
The Japanese Godzilla films started as a metaphor for the dangers of nuclear weapons. Godzilla was an unstoppable force of nature created by man's folly. In 1998 Godzilla was remade in America, but instead of being an unstoppable force he became a mutated iguana, raptor on steroids maybe, but just an animal all the same. The film was no where near as successful as hoped and the American Godzilla franchise died there and then. This is the problem, with Cruise as Reacher the metaphor no longer works, I don't want Reacher to be just another ex-army, ex-cop, I want the unstoppable force and to quote This Is Spinal Tap "I really think you're just making much too big a thing out of it." "Making a big thing out of it would have been a good idea."
To quote Alexandra Sokoloff "That’s all we’re getting out of that character and those books?". No, but in "TripWire" the fact is Reacher's chest is that big it stops a bullet from killing him and in "One Shot" itself Reacher bear hugs a man to death. How cool is that I want to see that in a film. Yes they can change the character to match Cruise's stature and he becomes a martial arts expert to beat his foes, but quite frankly I want to see a man bear hug someone to death and stop a bullet with his chest muscle. Lose that and he's just another action hero and that's a shame.
"the Mission Impossible-like intricacy of Reacher’s plans" Ms Sokoloff I actually think you're way off with this one. Reacher's plans don't have mission-impossible intricacy, a lot of the villains he's facing have intricate plans, Reacher's tend to be quite simple that's the beauty of them. Don't get me wrong though Reacher is simple, not dumb, he figures out the who bad guys are, what they are up to and where they are. He then kills them. Simple.
I agree with you about the idiotic casting ideas put forward. The two best in my opinion are Adam Baldwin or Kevin Durand, both big men with good physiques who can act.
Now I come to Cruise being able to carry a movie and act and the answer is yes to both, but you state he's a terrific action star, no he's not. He's a terrific star who's been in some action films, the last "Knight and Day" made significantly less than "Mission Impossible 3", which made less than "Mission Impossible 2". "A Few Good Men" made more than any of his action films. Do I think Cruise can carry the Reacher franchise forward, no. A point I've seen no one mention is that at 49 he's too old to star in an action franchise and be believable. He'll be 51 by the time "One Shot" has arrived and assuming he films another straight away he'll still be about 53, 54 for the next. you mention "Collateral" and I thought he was good in that , even quite menacing which is a start for Reacher. But he was menacing because he had a gun. Reacher's menace comes from his physicality and that is something you can't act. The other 2 "Magnolia" and "Jerry Maguire" aren't action films and no matter how good really don't prove anything for or against except maybe that Cruise is at his best in a dramas frankly I believe his action films have been pretty poor.
"One Shot" doesn't need a big movie star to carry all the action and special effects, because it doesn't need that sort of action and it doesn't really need special effects. I'd rather have the budget reduced and no star. Frank Darabont made the "Mist" on a lower budget rather than accept studio interference. Reacher books have a few action set pieces, memorable because instead of revolving around martial arts they are just knock down drag out affairs. To be honest I could take Cruise and my wife is pretty sure she could too, Reacher could take all three of us on his worst day.
I want Reacher to be a Neanderthal, essentially a brute with brains the last of a dying breed, even at my own 6 foot and 280 pounds I want to be intimidated by a man who makes me look small and can out think me. I want to root for an old fashioned hero, hell I don't even mind my wife swooning over him.
Cruise though is just a homo-sapien like the rest of us, not even a particularly impressive one, he's just a movie star, he's not an unstoppable force, he's just an actor who's star, at least judging by recent box office is starting wane. It seems Cruise needs Reacher more than Reacher needs Cruise.
I do not like the casting of Tom Cruise in the role of Reacher. I have read every Reacher book.I will not be seeing the movie as the vision I have of Reacher is not Tom Cruise. He is described in the books as having hands like hams, 6"5" 250 and tough as nails.
I do think he is a good actor though. I saw him miscast as a german officer in Valkyrie, and although he acted well he was not believeable in the role for me.
I will avoid seeing the movie as I dont want to spoil my vision of Reacher. I will continue to read the books.
Dwayne "the Rock Johnson would have been my number one choice.
Tom Cruise is so NOT Jack Reacher…. it has been a discussion with many girlfriends about who would be Jack Reacher if a movie was ever made and not once did we ever consider Tom Cruise, too pretty, not really tough enough…. my pick would be and only after seeing him in Blood Diamond would be Leonardo Di Caprio. Bit rough around the edges, bit of age on him now… oh please see sense and don't use Tom Cruise.. he is simply not Jack!
My favorite comment has been David Bloomfield's. He says it like it is and eloquently makes sense of the frustration so many of us few about this.
I understand the point Alexandra is trying to make about Hollywood, but dismissing what Lee Child himself rams down our throat with each and every book – Reachers size and brute force – is a huge mistake. I agree that his other attributes matter, as suggested several comments back by Alexandra herself, but his size simply cannot be dimissed because Lee Child makes it front and center in every single book. Don't misunderstand, I love the books and Lee Child is a favorite author in this genre, but the stories center around this hulk of a being.
I also understand the desire to support a friend, or fellow writer (whatever the case may be here), but at the same time, based on many things you've said here Alexandra, in supporting Lee Child here I feel you are dismissing what this is truly all about, a character many of us have embraced for the sheer fact of who he is… I feel like Lee Child sold out Jack Reacher when he sold the rights to Tom Cruise (unless he put a clause in there that states Cruise does not himself play Reacher). Maybe Cruise will surprise us all and not claim the part for himself, but if he does play him, and regardless if he's able to pull off a decent movie, Jack Reacher will simply never again be who he was. Whether or not this becomes a franchise, if Cruise plays Reacher I will never again be able to lose myself in these books and find them believable, because in reality Reacher will have deflated into Tom Cruise, worsened by the fact (in my opinion) that Mr. Cruise has become more of a caricature of himself more than anything else over the past several years.
And David, many many comments back much was said about the aging process, adding to the list of why Mr. Cruise is so wrong for this part.
@Willow "…rams down our throats…" Seriously? Is someone *making* you read his books? If so, I'd be happy to rescue you. I'm taller than Tom Cruise, too! 😉
The comment thus far that wraps it up for me:
Tom Cruise needs Reacher much more than Reacher needs Cruise – and as a result Reacher on film
will predictably wither unless Cruise is smart enough to read the tea leaves and make his money from the production of a great film that has the sense to cast a franchise carrying actor.
ruise is to well know and detracts fom the story either by being Tom Cruise or by not being Tom Cruise. Yes he cant win
My list for Reacher has flaws
1 Nick Noltle (20 years ago like H ford)
2 Dolph Lungren now!! But with acting skills
Other than that use cgi and lets invent him a touch of micky rouke, a bit of Daniel Craig
The esscene of bond
in a monster body with the killing hands of a healer
To Willow Murphree
Shucks you make me blush, but I'm glad you feel the same as I do and trust me I've been mulling over why I thought Cruise wasn't Reacher since it was announced.
You're right about age being mentioned before, but with so many posts I'd clearly missed it.
To Doug Moore
I know Alexandra Solokoff touched on the fact that Knight and Day wasn't a flop which is true, but "MI2" made $215,409,889 which is actually his 2nd biggest hit.
"MI3" box office dropped to roughly 62% of "MI2". "Day and Knight" dropped to roughly 57% of "MI3". "Day and Knight" only made just over 35% of what "MI2" made.
Again "Day and Night" wasn't a flop, but a drop in box office of that magnitude must be proof that Cruise's popularity has tumbled and it no doubt worried him.
Cruise's biggest hit was actually in Spielberg's version of "War of the World's" made between "MI2" and "MI3" with a box-office of $234,280,354. Amazing unless you compare it to "Jurassic Park" which made $357,067,947, so even taking into account ticket price inflation it made $122,700,00 less. If Cruise's is such a box-office draw, coupling him with Spielberg directing a big science fiction blockbuster, in a world famous story should surely equal "Jurassic Park" a film with character actors rather than massive movie stars.
I stand by my comment, Cruise needs Reacher more than Reacher needs Cruise
(I incorrectly stated that "A Few Good Men" made more than MI2, it didn't just more than "MI3" and "Day and Knight").
Actually while I've got my maths head on. The post from Lee Child on facebook that links to this blog has 1,021 comments. Only 17% of those are positive to casting Cruise as Reacher, granted not scientific just interesting.
To those who may no longer read Reacher novels.
I've noticed a few people say that Cruise in "One Shot" will spoil Reacher for them and they won't be able to read the novels anymore. I agree with Alexandra Sokoloff when she pointed out this would be a shame as there is no logic to a film ruining a character in a novel. The problem is that it's a persons gut reaction and this quite often overrules the head. It doesn't matter how dumb the thought, if you're gut says no, it normally has the final say.
I won't see the film if Cruise is to star, mainly because of the reasons I put in my earlier post (August 2nd), partly because the thought of any of my money filtering to scientology via Tom no matter how irrational that may be makes my skin crawl. So I really hope he doesn't ruin the books for me, In fact I have a few plans to help.
Maybe we should adopt the same tactic as Godzilla fans over the destruction of there favourite character in the 1998 American version, they refer to it as GINO or Godzilla In Name Only.
If we think of Cruise starring as RINO, it may soften the blow.
In fact I've an even better idea, there is another Jack out there from the literary world and he's been languishing in production hell for a very long time. He's smaller, but equally iconic and in a more Cruise kind of way. Tom I implore you forget Reacher, become F.Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack, that I could live with.
(Sorry to any Repairman Jack fans who may feel the same as Reacher fans about Cruise and yes I'm a big G fan, no I can't explain it, please don't hold it against me and yes I'm glad Tom hasn't got the rights to that one)
Sorry, you couldn't be more wrong. I can sense that trying to convince you would be a waste of time, but I don't think you understand the character or the books. Special effects – please. We're all tired of special effects. How about keeping the great story and all the characters and the Reacher subtitles of thinking and understanding which make him so interesting. Most of the books don't need anything that qualifies as 'special effects'. That's what we are all afraid of. And the idea that size doesn't matter for the actor who plays Reacher – wow.
As to 'carrying the movie', I agree there is a lot needed to pull it off correctly. Using Tom Cruises money and connections is fine. But putting his sensibilities at the helm is disastrous.
I Agee this would have been an excellent choice for Jack Reacher–"Viggo Mortenson would nail this role if he were casted. He's shown he can play Jack Reacher with roles in movies like "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises.""
July 30, 2011 | Maverick Maguire
The contradictions in here are getting thick. Two of the favorites — Russell Crow and VIggo Mortenson (both excellent actors) — are under six feet tall. If the "real" reason people don't want Cruise is because of his size, this makes no sense.
All of the scattershot discussion in here is actually swaying me off my original stance and making me think a Cruise movie (with the full power of the "Cruise Hollywood Machine" behind it) might not be such a bad thing after all. At least for the first few Reacher movies. (Cruise has shown a predilection for bailing from series anyways.)
I wrote my own post but it got a bit too long. So, I will agree with this post and only add a couple of things.
"Sorry, you couldn't be more wrong. I can sense that trying to convince you would be a waste of time, but I don't think you understand the character or the books. Special effects – please. We're all tired of special effects. How about keeping the great story and all the characters and the Reacher subtitles of thinking and understanding which make him so interesting. Most of the books don't need anything that qualifies as 'special effects'. That's what we are all afraid of. And the idea that size doesn't matter for the actor who plays Reacher – wow.
As to 'carrying the movie', I agree there is a lot needed to pull it off correctly. Using Tom Cruises money and connections is fine. But putting his sensibilities at the helm is disastrous."
August 3, 2011 | Allan Hayes
Her blog sounds like it was written by Tom Cruise's PR person. I agree that it isn't just about the size of Jack Reacher, being 6.2, but that Jack Reacher's size is part of his character. It shows how a big muscular man can be more than just brawn but have brains and be one step ahead of everyone one else and make it believable when he takes 1-4 or sometimes more guys and still win…using his brains and brawn. He also gets into a lot of trouble as his character because his size is intimidating to those he crosses paths with, but Tom Cruise's size isn't going to be able to pull that off as Jack Reacher because he is too small. They will have to make him intimidating another way, which will change the character. So, I totally disagree with this writer. In this case size does have a lot to do with the character because it is part of what causes many of Jack's problems just from first appearances and even more are caused when they realize he is very intelligent to boot. So, tell me how Tom Cruise can over come that while trying to become this character? He can't.
Please give the Lee Child Jack Reacher fans more credit than to think we would base our decisions on vain ideas of he just isn't the right size for who we had in our minds. Our concerns are character based. So show some respect please and not belittle us all in this way. Also fantasy characters, not human, are expected to require special affects not human characters without any fantasy creatures as counter parts, which won't be over looked like it was in LOTR where it gladly was to allow for the fantasy to take place as it was written. The right actor would not need costly special affects or to rewrite the stories to make the actor fit the role by changing the character.
When I first heard these books might go to the big screen I was excited, as I am sure all Jack Reacher fans were but if they have to change Jack Reacher to fit the actor, the movie will more than likely loose the Jack Reacher fan base. Then what good is Making a Jack Reacher movie? That will reduce their bottom line at the box office if they loose the fans that made the character seem like a good financial investment in the first place. Recasting isn't something that has never been heard of. So us voicing our concerns isn't totally futile. One can only hope The directors see the wisdom in them.
Allan, I get the feeling that you think I was arguing that Tom Cruise is my perfect casting for Reacher. Not at all. OF COURSE I have my own fantasies about who should play Reacher. I could get pretty graphic about it, actually.
But I'm looking at the casting and the film as a whole and arguing about why it can work for a great franchise, because, in no particular order –
1) I have nothing to do with the casting or any other aspect of the film and cannot influence what happens in the slightest.
2) As the dice roll in Hollywood this is a phenomenally positive outcome compared to what could have happened (and what still might).
3) I am NOT hung up on Reacher's size because there is so much more to him and the stories than that.
4) I blog about the practical aspects of craft and the relationship between novels and film and was doing that in this case as well.
And other reasons.
I guess the thing that surprises me the most about some of the responses here is that people are responding as if ideal films are made all the time in Hollywood and this is some kind of gross aberration. Please, honestly, truly, I'd love to know – when was the last time you saw a great and perfect and faithful movie made of a book? Out of all the movies that come out every year, how many times does that happen, ESPECIALLY in the last ten years? So WHERE is the surprise here that things aren't as a lot of people would have liked?
The protests about what Hollywood does to books should have been coming LONG before this movie started rolling.
David Bloomfield and others, I owe you a lot of comments for your great arguments but I just can't do it today. But David has an awesome idea about Repairman Jack! It DOES seem so much naturally better.
Not that what any one of us says is going to make that happen, but I love the way you think.
All due respect Alexandra, but you are absolutely wrong. Physicality is extremely important. Saying Cruise can play Reacher is like saying Cruise can play Conan the Barbarian. Reacher's size and physicality are absolutely key to the character of Jack Reacher. Reacher is not just a smart, ex-military cop, he is a giant of a man who dominates a room. When you look down a sidewalk, you see Reacher's head sticking above the crowd. He is a physical, imposing, unstoppable force, who rules a room with his size and strength – this is a critical component of the character. I have no doubt that Tom Cruise can play the role of a tough ex-military cop, and can probably make One Shot a good movie BUT, this is NOT Reacher.
Do they need an iconic, BIG name actor to play the role? It definitely would help, but I am not sure they need it. Even that said, there are dozens of actors with better size, WITH the required intensity, intelligence, and wit to play the role of Reacher.
So, I might see the movie. But as a To Cruise action movie ala Collateral or Mission Impossible. Definitely NOT as a Reacher movie, cause this ain't Reacher. Period.
I was directed to this website by a link on the Lee Child forum page. I had no idea where it would take me… I read the article by Alexandra Sokoloff and the feeling I got from it was, in a word, demeaning. Like we silly people who know nothing about Hollywood and producers and screenplays and directors. We really don't know what we're talking about when we bemoan the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. I was insulted. Silly me. Who am I? I'm nobody. I AM a Jack Reacher fan, though, and I am a film fan. I don't want to rank on you Ms. Sokoloff but you ranked on us. I disagree about Tom Cruise being the kind of actor you describe. He came sliding down the hall in his underwear in the early 80s and he really hasn't changed much since then – except for his wealth and power. Tom Cruise by any other name is still Tom Cruise. You demean us because we don't want him to play our beloved Reacher? That's right – we don't. One Shot might as well be called MI V. So, OK, who would be better cast for Reacher? Hugh Jackman – charismatic, an excellent actor, physicality, TALL, brooding, mysterious. Clive Owen – ditto. Jeffrey Dean Morgan – ditto. Daniel Craig – ditto – well not so tall but ultimately very cool. While we're at it how about Anjelina Jolie? Not so tall but ditto with everything else. Is that funny? Not as much as Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher. We can complain as much as we want without being Hollywood insiders. We're the ones who put Reacher on the map.
I've already posted 3 times on this subject, the first granted was just sarcasm which I know is the lowest form of wit, but it is my default setting and in my defence it was for my own amusement not anyone else's.
My second and third are more in depth and explain why I think Cruise is wrong for Reacher or RINO as I shall refer to him. (Reacher in name only). I'm not going to cover the same ground so if you want to see my arguments and feel the inclination to look they should both be on the fifth page. There are other arguments equally as compelling and possibly better written and Alexandra Sokoloff has shown the willingness to debate a sensible comment..
In fact I'd like to defend Ms Sokoloff's comment about Reacher fans whinging, we are! The Lee Child facebook page, Total Film blogs and the comments here are full of people whinging and complaining and I'm sure there are many more on many more sites I haven't read. To be honest they annoy me and I agree that Cruise is wrong for RINO
"Cruise is to small for RINO", "Cruise is a midget", "Cruise is wrong no no no" are all just a whinge. If you disagree with the casting at least make a reasoned argument. Just not liking Cruise isn't going to persuade anyone it's a bad idea. We read books so we all must be at least semi-literate let's prove it with a reasoned sensible argument.
If you've made a reasoned argument, then you know this isn't aimed at you!
Actually I will repeat one thing, Lee Child sold the rights to "One Shot", Cruise's production company now own the rights and have the first, second and final say in casting. Blaming Lee Child or Alexandra Sokoloff is not only misplaced, but pointless and indeed shows the ignorance of the movie industry that Ms Sokoloff talks about.
Oops – spelled Angelina wrong. My bad.
There are many, many folks who simply think Tom Cruise is NOT a great actor. I have enjoyed some of his films but the majority of them especially in the last few years I found just over-hyped.
I understand film creativity and am not hung on Tom's lack of height. I, along with a slew of folks — merely do not like the majority of Tom Cruise's work. When someone like Lee creates a character we have grown to love, it is hard to envision some one whose acting work we do not admire, in the role.
I wish Lee the best as always. I merely do not like Cruise for reasons other than height and
"Rizzoli & iIles" works because they cast performers with strong talent. Though Tom Cruise is considered 'box office' —- I find his abilities highly superficial. I find his films work through 'fluff.' I haven't liked his films for the last few years even though I will check them out as a reviewer. I will only go see him as Reacher out of respect for Lee.
Many commenters say that you can't blame Lee Child. Well, I think you can. Many authors (Colin Dexter comes to mind) protect the casting of their main character. Mr. Child could have done this. Perhaps he should have done this. We all know that Tom Cruise's track record on good judgment decisions is suspect. (After all, he's a Scientologist.)
This movie will not impact my enjoyment of the books. I'll continue reading the books. I'll wait to see a dramatization if they cast it decently. For instance, I am a big Clive Cussler fan and I still read him. (However, I couldn't finish the DVD of Sahara as it was extremely poorly cast.)
sorry, tom cruise is NOT Jack Reacher
I will simply boycott the movie so I may preserve the Reacher that I love so dearly in my heart
I have just read your points on Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher in the film adaption of One Shot. I have to say I think you have made a lot of very good points and I do agree with you… to a point. Tom Cruise is a very good and well established action star. He has proved this time and time again with all of his movies. However I do have to say if a well known and established actor should play Reacher, then yes Tom would certainly be in my top pick of actors. But I do also think that for Tom Cruise to play Reacher, it would be a challenge for him. I believe this because of what Tom is capable of and what Reacher, I think is portrayed as.
Tom is a very good method actor and his portrayal of emotion is very raw, he immerses himself in the role and definitely gets across the feelings he wants to portray, but I think personally for Reacher you need a different kind of raw. The kind you get from the likes of Christian Bale, Daniel Craig, Liam Neeson and Sam Worthington. It is the 'moody' looking kind of emotion, that I know I see Reacher in my mind as having. Its all in the eyes. I think Tom is too 'smiley' for Reacher.
I also feel that this is the perfect role for a lesser known or even new actor to step up to the plate and take on. There are many great new films in the last few years that this type of actor have stepped up and not disappointed. Sam Worthington in Terminator Salvation for example. I do think Sam would be the best choice. Well short of me playing him anyway!
Well either way all I can say is I am a very big fan of Reacher and his 'adventures' and I hope whoever gets the honour of playing him doesn't disappoint and does all the fans proud.
ALEX, NICE RANT AND MOST OF IT IS TRUE BUT IF YOU READ THE REACHER BOOKS YOU HAVE A CERTAIN IMAGE OF A GUY IN YOUR HEAD AND TRUST ME NOONE THOUGHT OF TOM CRUISE. EVEN IF HOLLYWOOD COULD CREATE THE ILLUSION YOU JUST KNOW THAT
IT´S WRONG. IF YOU READ ALL THE COMMENTS ON THE WALL YOU CAN SEE THAT NEARLY EVERYONE IS AGAINST TOM CRUISE AND THE FANS ARE THE ONE WHO GO TO THE THEATRES. EVER THOUGHT ABOUT THAT?
Vin Diesel would have been a much better pick, Toms a great actor, but way too "pretty" to play Reacher….IMHO. I saw Vin while I read all the novels in the series…dont know why, but he always came to mind…oh well..