A Fan’s Perspective: Will the Real Jack Reacher Please Stand Up?

Bad Guy: *touches his gun*

Reacher: Hang on a second while I get a chair so that I may stand up on it and head-butt you.

If this scene exists in any of Lee Child’s 17 Jack Reacher novels, then congratulations, Jack Reacher film team… you’ve done well to cast Tom Cruise as Reacher.

The movie Jack Reacher opens today. I’m in France, where it won’t open for another week or so, but that’s irrelevant because I’m not going to go see it.

Before you dismiss me as a whiner harping on the height issue, let me just say that I know it’s hard for you movie-goers uninitiated to the Jack Reacher novels to comprehend the far-ranging negative reaction to this casting. I mean, with all of this brou-ha-ha over the casting, there must be something more to it, wouldn’t you think? So, I’m going to ask you this question to make it easier to understand (or at least to appreciate) the disbelief:

If you were looking forward to the making of a movie about the Vikings, the legendary drifting explorers and warriors of the north seas, would you want to see Tom Cruise cast in the lead Viking role?

Think about it. I mean, try to envision it. If you don’t know enough about the Vikings to form a mental image of Cruise as a Viking, then do some reading. Familiarize yourself. Get to know the subject matter. Get to know the Vikings.

Now tell me what you think.

Is Tom Cruise Viking material?

No? Okay, what if he was 6’ 5” tall and weighed 250 lbs – would he be Viking material then?

Still no? Why not? I thought the concern was his size, since that’s the obvious issue, but okay, let’s go further and imagine growing out and bleaching Tom Cruise’s perfectly styled, clean-cut, dark brown hair into a haphazard, dirty-blond un-style. Also, we’ll fit him with colored contacts to give him the icy blue eyes of the typical Viking.

Does that do it? Alright, then how about this: We’ll drag Tom Cruise face-down on a gravel path so his skin roughens up appropriately (I know what you were thinking… he’s “too pretty” to be convincing as a weather-worn, battle-scarred Viking who was never good-looking to begin with), and we’ll also give him a voice box transplant to replace his higher-pitched, bookish and slightly nasally voice with the deeper, quiet menace of the Viking’s voice – or at least what you’d imagine a Viking’s voice would sound like. Potentially thunderous, when needed, but not often needed. No need to talk much when you walk into a room and people instantly react to you because you’re, well, a Viking.

There!

What? After all that modification, you’re still saying “Tom Cruise is not a Viking?” That makes no sense at all, people. This is TOM CRUISE. He’s a great actor with years of experience making mega-millions at the box-office, guaranteed to deliver a cinematic hit! Oh, ye of no faith. Tom Cruise may be small, but he has massive star power. He may not be Mr. Universe, but he can carry this movie and the whole franchise, to boot. Give Cruise and the movie a chance. You might be surprised. Do I need to remind you that he’s not just any movie star, but an action movie star? TOM CRUISE IS A VIKING.

Right?

Now, replace “Viking” with “Reacher” in all of the above, and this is exactly where you arrive. At best, you’re still going to be scratching your head, thinking about it. No amount of “Give him a chance… size isn’t everything” is going to change the fact that Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher, because even if we do forget about his size, there’s still a lot wrong with Cruise in this role.

Here’s an example of a well-known Reacherism: Mobility. Reacher walks a lot. Walking is his favorite mode of transportation. He walks almost as much as he drinks coffee, and that’s a lot. Second on his list, he takes the bus. Third, he hitch-hikes. And fourth, he takes the train.

Although Reacher can and does appropriate and drive whatever vehicle suits his needs at any given moment, it’s been firmly established that Reacher is not a driver. He dislikes driving, and he’s never had a civilian driver’s license. This is why Reacher fans know immediately that something is off when the first sound in the movie trailer is the gunning of a V-8 engine with the supposition that Reacher is behind the wheel. From that second on, the Reacher fan is thinking, “Wait! I thought this was a movie about Jack Reacher….?” Jack Reacher is not a driver.

So why do we have a movie called “Jack Reacher” with Tom Cruise agilely maneuvering a sports car around using every flashy show-off trick in his action-flick auto repertoire? Looks like Tom Cruise being Tom Cruise the Action Hero under the name of Jack Reacher. OH SHIT – Jack Reacher has been hijacked!!

That was the first part of my multi-tiered reaction to the movie trailer.

I found the trailer by accident. It was a thrilling little moment of discovery: YES! There’s a Jack Reacher movie!! I eagerly clicked to open the trailer, and I was instantly confused. I couldn’t find Reacher. All I saw was Tom Cruise. Once I understood that Cruise was supposed to be Reacher, I couldn’t believe it and kept looking around for the real Jack Reacher. (“Will the real Jack Reacher please stand up?” HA.) I remember thinking, “Okay, uhh… I see Tom Cruise acting tough and trying to sound threatening with his little round voice and looking sharp with his perfect hair and preppy outfit, but where is Reacher? OH… SHIT TOM CRUISE IS SUPPOSED TO BE JACK REACHER??” The trailer wound down to an end, and the final assault materialized before my eyes: the movie title “JACK REACHER” glowing in blue letters on the screen. Not only does Tom Cruise play Jack Reacher, but the film itself is called Jack Reacher. I went on Facebook and dashed out something that ended with *headdesk.* It felt like my fingers were throwing up.

Jack Reacher has a certain combat style, the central criteria being a massive physical form. In his case, size is not mere window-dressing, decorative and changeable according to whim. If it was, then sure, festoon Tom Cruise with a bunch of ribbons and bows and call it a day. In book after book, Jack Reacher the Pain Inflictor (if I may call him that – I like the way it rhymes, it’s corny and it sums him up) incapacitates and destroys his opponents using moves that would be physically impossible for a shorter-than-average man to perform.

In the first Jack Reacher book I ever read, Reacher “snaps forward from the waist” and head-butts two guys, one after the other, laying them out flat. The guys are described as “each about six-two and around two hundred or two hundred and ten pounds. They had long knotted arms and big hands. Work boots on their feet.” (The Affair) Hours later, after they regained consciousness, “Both of them had noses like spoiled eggplants. Both of them had two black eyes. Both of them had crusted blood on their lips.”

Sorry, Tom Cruise. You are not going to convince anyone that you can damage two big goons in this manner. Even with elevator risers in your shoes, you are not going to stand there and head-butt two guys who are 7-8 inches taller than you. That arrogant smirk on your face isn’t going to add to your credibility, either. The Tom Cruise smirk doesn’t call to mind the expression of quizzical bemusement that’s another Reacherism. It’s not ominous. There’s no gravity behind it. It’s just… the Tom Cruise smirk.

In the end, this casting is simply unfair. It’s asking too much of a Reacher fan to try to reconcile the profile of Jack Reacher with Tom Cruise. We’re not a tough crowd to please. We’re not looking for the “perfect” Jack Reacher actor, because we know that there’s no such thing. It’s just that as loyal fans, we would feel respected if an honest attempt had been made to cast an actor who could be more believable as Reacher, an actor who could better embody the essence of and maybe even slightly resemble the Reacher that has been constructed for us on the written page. I think there’s something to be said for a good effort to preserve the integrity of an artistic creation.

Unfortunately, no honest attempt at an appropriate casting took place here. After years of expressed interest in Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise bought the rights to the book (One Shot) and went ahead and produced it and starred in it. Author Lee Child, who at one point said that Tom Cruise was “way too short to play Reacher,” has since tap-danced all over the table justifying (yes, he does have to justify it – he owes it to his baffled million+ fan base, without whom he would have nothing) his approval with flimsy assertions like “No one else could do it” (really?) and “Reacher is a metaphor” (simultaneously evading the issue and elevating his work to a higher level of prose than the pulp fiction that it actually is, excellent though it may be).

Of course we Reacher fans are feeling ripped off getting Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. (Or, shall I say, Tom Cruise instead of Jack Reacher.) How great would it have been to be able to anticipate this film, as so many fiction fans do when their favorite books are being adapted to film? Harry Potter fans got an amazing cast for their literary obsession. Hunger Games fans’ heroine Katniss was done justice by the brilliant Jennifer Lawrence. Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean works, I think; in his elaborate stage make-up, he is Jack Sparrow when you look at him, not Johnny Depp. But Jack Reacher? All anyone will see when they look there is Tom Cruise. No attempt was made to adapt his appearance to fit that of Reacher. It’s Mr. Clean-Cut Risky Business-As-Usual Cruise showing up to play the part of a hulking, Viking-like character. It’s a colossal disappointment for Reacher fans. An actor who would actually make sense in the role could’ve taken it and run with it all the way through the franchise. Jack Reacher would have his own face – not Tom Cruise’s.

So that’s why I’m not going to buy a ticket when Jack Reacher gets to France. I have no desire to watch Tom Cruise play himself in another Tom Cruise action movie, when what I want is to watch an actor playing Reacher in a Jack Reacher movie.

If I want to see Tom Cruise, I’ll rent Tropic Thunder again, or Jerry Maguire. See? I’m not a Tom Cruise hater. I’m just a person who loves Jack Reacher.

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116 thoughts on “A Fan’s Perspective: Will the Real Jack Reacher Please Stand Up?

  1. Awesome, simply awesome. Perfect analysis and summary of why Reacher fans are upset. I’ve been telling people to take their favorite character from any of their favorite books, and then hold that image of that character in their minds. After they have that image, I tell them to now remember any favorite scene with that character in it. After they start to do that, I then tell them to now imagine that character as the complete polar opposite of how they imagine them.

    That usually gets a lot of people to understand why Reacher are so pissed. It not only ruins the movie, but now even when I read the newest Reacher book, tiny Tom Cruise kept flashing into my head and it was totally ruining the story for me.

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  2. Kristi,

    First off, great piece. I am going to post a link on my facebook page, “Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher”. http://www.facebook.com/reacherfriends. Well written and very concise. I started the page and have been completely blown away by the response. Someone posted a link to your blog in a comment today and that is how I found you. I hope you enjoy traffic to your blog.

    Vern

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  3. Ray Stevenson at 6’4″ and over 200 pounds, after his recent physically menacing stint on Dexter, would have been spectacularly believable as Reacher.

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  4. Well written and very well put.

    I think the movie is doomed, and unfortunately this will likely kill off the possibility of a decent followup with a better Jack.

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  5. Perfectly stated. I went to the midnight screening of The Hobbit in my local theatre and was outraged to see the trailer of this travesty pop up before the main event. People around me were startled when I laughed out loud. The trailer of this mother-of-all-mis-castings didn’t spoil The Hobbit for me – it’s brilliant (plug!) – but simply reinforced my decision, which I have had from day one, not to have anything to do with Child’s ‘metaphor’. I will happily continue to read the books, though – Cruise hasn’t upset my mental image of Reacher.

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  6. nice article. I too can’t stop bitching about it. unfortunately that is all we can do. that and as always.. vote with our wallets.. which I hope all real fans will do. must be one of bigest miscast in history of cinema. such a shame..

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  7. Excellent, love the Viking analogy, couldn’t agree more with what you’ve written. I’ve moved on from Lee Child now, still love Reacher, but can’t abide seeing Cruise’s face on the book covers – its just not right and creeps me out in so many ways.

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  8. You are the MAN. My first reaction to seeing the promos was Jack Reacher doesn’t race cars He hates cars. I feel betrayed. With bit of luck Cruise will take this on board and NOT continue to be NOT JACK REACHER Lets have Rusell Crowe, Hugh Jackman or Brad Pitt -decent physique and presence but please NOT Tom Cruise

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  9. Kevin Durand.
    Chris Hemsworth
    James Purefoy
    Liam Neeson (possibly a bit old though)
    Even Hugh Jackman

    But not Tom “Maverick” Cruise. For all the reasons you’ve listed. Even the trailers make me want to laugh and weep simultaneously.

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  10. Excellent job! You said it better than I could…better than I have been TRYING to say it! And, like you, I will not buy a ic Tom Cruise action film. I, too, saw the trailer and didn’t see Jack Reacher anywhere! In one book, Reacher’s arm span was addressed during hand to hand combat training and they laughed about his name…”Reacher”, Try to imagine that scene with Tom Cruise. (Couldn’t do it, could you?).

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  11. Here here, well said. A nice eloquent response, much better than my AAARRRRGGGhhhhHHh, when I found out about Cruise.
    Hugh Jackman, Eli Roth, Jason Statham, Ryan Reynolds, Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Hell, even Ed Norton would be a better choice, our only hope is that they franchise it and place someone better suited for the role.
    I have no intention of seeing this latest debacle.

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  12. Amen! My first choice for Reacher has always been Howie Long, and when I met Lee at a book signing for “One Shot” years ago, he told me that was his first choice also. Dolph Lundgren could pull it off as well. A bulked up Alexander Skarsgard might be a good “younger” Reacher. You don’t need a master thespian to portray Reacher, you need a physical presence first and foremost.

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  13. Among all possible actors for the role Ray Stevenson is by far my favouite. I look at him and think, yes, that is Jack Reacher.

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  14. I would have bought a ticket if it where Danny DiVito…at least he has the bulk ;). Seriously, I was beyond shocked over this choice. Dwayne Johnson-maybe, even though coloring is off. John Cena, getting closer…Chris Hemsworth, oh baby now we are talking.

    But, when I read the books, I see Dolf Lundgren, from Rocky…even though he is older than dirt now THAT is “my Jack Reacher”.

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  15. When I first heard of the casting I knew I would not be going to see it. I love the books, but as the Facebook page says, ‘Tom Cruise is NOT Jack Reacher’. That’s where I found the link to your blog, and just wanted to say, “Very well written, thank you!”

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  16. The man from “Cash Cab” was on the Tonight show, who is a Reacher fan was saying how much he wanted to play Reacher. He would have been perfect, not too well known, about 6’5″ and plenty beefy, not overly handsome and has a rough edge like Reacher. I would agree Tom Cruise can never be the Reacher that I know!

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  17. I have been reading these books for years and when I found out TC was going to play Jack Reacher I was flabberghasted! You’re kidding, I said to myself. What a joke. My personal pick would have been Jason Statham. I think he could have pulled it off well. I will not be going to see this movie, I am boycotting!!!

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  18. Hi Vern,

    Wow, thank you for the compliments! I’m glad that you enjoyed reading my blog piece about this travesty of a Jack Reacher casting, and I’m humbled to be featured on your FB page. I’ve been a fan of your page for a while now (thank you for creating it)! Yes, I am enjoying the traffic you brought because of my post. I’m glad to offer it to our fellow Reacher fans. =)

    ~Kristi

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  19. I just looked up Ray Stevenson, and we (Callaghan and I) totally agree with you. He would have been a great Jack Reacher!

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  20. Ray Stevenson is Reacher. Perfect for the role. Lee Child doesn’t like Cruise, had no choice, is forbidden by some slick contract to bad-mouth the movie. You all saw his speech, right?

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  21. Loved your perspective on this. There is no way after reading every Reacher novel could I EVER see this movie. I looked up Ray Stevenson after reading your blog and I have to agree!!! he would be perfect!!!

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  22. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Pefect! I have nothing against Tom Cruise, either. A small man can be deadly, as with Keifer Sutherland in “24”, but we had no preconceived idea what his character (also named Jack and what the heck is up with all of these “Jack’s”?” looked like, so his character was believable to us. Not so with Jack Reacher. We have read the books and we “know” what he looks like. And it sure isn’t Tom Cruise.

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  23. A big part of the reason Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher is because he bought the rights to the films so he could cast himself as Reacher.
    Basically it’s a big narcissistic pantomime to keep his ego inflated after the disastrous couple of years he’s had.
    Ruins a good movie though.

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  24. Nice to read balanced criticisms. I have only been reading the novels in the past year and love the idea of Ray stevenson but firstly I pictured Tom Selleck when I ready the first novel. I am a fan of the FB page and often wonder what Lee Childs thinks of what has been done to his wonderful novels

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  25. Vikings? That’s your point of reference? Wow. You really are – pardon the pun – reaching. And you “TRUE” fans just can’t say, “Hey, Lee Child! You should cast in the role.” That’s unreasonable to expect. Plus, the majority of movie goers haven’t ever heard of Lee Child nor do they care about the adaptation from the original source material. Movies are a business. If Tom Cruise were not part of the equation, then most “TRUE” Reacher/Child fans would still fine fault with any film adaptation (loss of characters, car chase, location, body count, dialog, etc.). As Mr. Child said: “Readers feel they have some incredibly intimate possession. Reacher is theirs alone. Now suddenly this will be blown open. They get defensive. They think, I don’t want this taken away from me. This is my private thing… People feel hostile toward someone else’s interpretation of a book. Their default position is opposition.” It’s a movie. Movies are different from books. Stop whining. (And, yes, I’ve read all 17 books. And, no, my personal vision of Reacher isn’t “ruined” by Tom Cruise.)

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  26. Tom Cruise as Reacher? They should have used the same filming technique used in the Hobbit to make sure everyone else was shorter than him! Ignore the film, let it bomb in the cinemas and continue reading the books. Its a blip that will be forgotten.

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  27. Good for you Kim. If you’re so Ok with Tom Cruise in this role, what made you scour the internet for a obscure blog about why he’s wrong for the role, and then spend some time to write a pretty lengthy comment about it?

    Using Lee’s analysis of why reader’s are angry about casting is laughable. That’s Lee doing damage control, because he has no control who they cast. He can either spin it in a positive manner, not say anything, or bash it. He really just wanted to get the movie made so badly, he decided to support.

    I also have a hard time believing anyone who says they are a Reacher fan and say they are Ok with the casting of Tom Cruise. It’s the equivalent of saying you’d be fine with Darth Vader being replaced by Carrot Top in the original Star Wars movies. It tends to diminish any credibility at that point.

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  28. I had no clue clue who Ray Stevenson was till I just googled him, but now remember watching him as the punisher. As a long time Reacher fan I can’t think of a better person to play him than Ray. Not too pretty, just the right athletic build, quiet, menacing. A younger Clint Eastwood would have been good too.

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  29. Ray Stevenson without a doubt, Titus Pullo was Reacher in a loin cloth. After years of wanting them to bring Reacher to the screen I am bereft of any desire to watch this film. The casting is purely to get the masses through the cinema doors and is a smack in the face for the real Reacher fans. Lee Child you have let us down and I for one will never watch this film, to do so would destroy the real Jack Reacher forever. For the record I like Cruise in the MI films.

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  30. @John Highstreet… Ah, yes, insults and name-calling: the last refuge of the out argued. @Ryan Gilbert: This “obscure blog” was linked in Lee Child’s FB page.
    I’m dumbfounded by the ignorance of how Hollywood casting works. ANY and EVERY movie adaptation is going to be deemed controversial and met with hostility by devotees of the original work. Cruise was not my personal choice to play Reacher. However, for better or worse, he’s got the role for now. Love it or hate it: it is what it is. I now return you, no doubt, to more verbal abuse, antagonism, and daydreams of future Reachers. Cheers.

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  31. I can’t believe I didn’t know “Jack Reacher” before the Tom Cruise movie, which I actually liked. The plot was engrossing and I liked the idea of Jack Reacher. My one critical comment was that there was no “suspension of reality” because all I saw was Tom Cruise playing Reacher– and this I knew without reading the books. What a shame for Lee Childs. And for us viewers.

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  32. Darryl Stokes: Thank you! I think so, too… at least, I hope so (that the movie is doomed). Maybe this would prompt a professional response that will involve a “real” casting process for the next Reacher movie, if there is one. We can only hope!

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  33. Bruce Thompson:

    Thanks! I agree; it is funny. Well, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It actually made me feel sick with disappointment. Me too… my mental image of Reacher is intact… maybe even more so.

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  34. dariusz:

    Thank you! I know, right? It’s such a ridiculous disaster of a casting. “…vote with our wallets…” you are *so* right.

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  35. Beth:

    Hey, thanks. It’s too bad that there are so many of us who feel the same way (or maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe our outrage will inspire some serious re-thinking for the next installment, if there is one).

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  36. Jules:

    Thank you! I’d recently written a light piece about Vikings, so I had that in mind. To me, Reacher really is Viking-like. I hear you… I wouldn’t buy a book with Cruise’s face on it, either. I’m glad that I’d already bought all of the Reacher books so I don’t have to deal with that awful book cover.

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  37. Lyne Breese:

    Ha, thanks! I agree completely! I hope our collective outrage has an effect. I mean, I hope we’re taken seriously with this.

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  38. Pat:

    Oh yeah, I just looked him up and I can totally see his face with “Reacher” written on it!

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  39. Liza:

    I know several people who agree with you on Liam Neeson. He has that quiet menace that would serve Reacher well!

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  40. Donna Tipton:

    Thank you! I’ve read a lot of good pieces on this subject, too. Haha, yeah, Cruise’s wing-span is laughable when you consider Reacher’s. I just doesn’t make sense.

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  41. John Highstreet:

    Thank you… your “AAARRRRGGGhhhhHHh” response makes perfect sense to me! Me too; I hope Lee Child understands, now, the extent to which he disappointed us. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the next one.

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  42. Dan McKenzie:

    Absolutely. Huh, it’s interesting that Lee Child didn’t want Cruise back then, either, right? Money talks. Ugh.

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  43. mollymcmahan:

    Danny DiVito, haha! I agree with you. I would have given anyone else (with the bulk) a chance. As it is, I’ll wait and see what happens with the next Reacher movie. Maybe Lee Child will listen to us.

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  44. Jypsycat:

    Thank you! It’s amazing how so many people feel the same way as us. I think Lee Child has good reason to listen.

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  45. Michele:

    Isn’t it insane?! I don’t get how Lee Child didn’t foresee our reaction. Or maybe he did, and he doesn’t care. So disappointing. We’re his bread and butter.

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  46. Joyce Costa:

    Thank you! Imagine how much money was lost on lack of ticket sales from this fiasco! Yeah, Ray Stevenson would have gotten it right, I think….

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  47. Sue Collins:

    Thanks! Exactly! Lee Child has described Reacher so well, repeatedly, that he can only expect our disappointment.

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  48. William Mills:

    YES – I agree! This casting is a reflection of Cruise’s ego. I mean, I can understand that he might admire Reacher so much that he’d want to play him, but you would think he’d look in the mirror and see that he’s not Reacher.

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  49. Christine:

    Thank you… yeah, I wanted to be fair and acknowlege that I have nothing against Cruise, himself (although I do think that he did an injustice to us by insisting on playing Reacher). Tom Selleck is an interesting idea to me, as I can see him making a come-back in a role like this (as Travolta did in Pulp Fiction).

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  50. Kim R Theesen:

    Yes, Vikings! Thank you for sharing your opinions… I appreciate the time you took in writing this comment. I like to hear all sides of an argument. You’re right; a lot of movie-goers don’t have a preconceived notion of Reacher, so they’d get more enjoyment out of the film. Also, I agree with you that there would always be a debate on who would make the best Reacher. I would bet, though, that so many more people (fans) share the negative feeling about this casting. Good for you for being able to enjoy the choice. As for my whining, well, I think I (we who share our views) have as much right to whine as you have a right to argue. I don’t take it personally.

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  51. Danny:

    That was my thought, too! If you must cast someone with as much of a size differential as Cruise, then at least make sure that everyone else in the film looks shorter than him! Even the woman lead in the film is taller than him. I don’t understand it.

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  52. Vicky Cockayne:

    I agree with you; I think the people involved in this casting were counting on Cruise’s “star power” to get movie-goers in the door. I think it was a disrespectful choice for fans. How could Lee Child figure that we’d see past Cruise’s deficiencies for the role? I haven’t seen the MI films. I’ve heard good things about them, though (especially the first one).

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  53. abby smas:

    It’s interesting to know that even someone who didn’t know Reacher before the movie felt that Cruise was just Cruise. I agree… it’s a shame that an author would take the time to develop a character so well, and then allow such a casting.

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  54. Ryan Gilbert:

    Thank you! I’m glad that you enjoyed my blog post about Reacher. I wrote it because some of my friends aren’t understanding why I’m so outraged about this horrible casting, and, like you, I’ve been wanting to explain it, to break it down for them. Your method sounds good. I hope that in the future we can watch a better Reacher actor take the stage for the role.

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  55. Sue:

    Yes! Stevenson! Ah, the politics of Hollywood. Go figure. I don’t know if I saw the particular speech that you mention. I’ll do a search for it online….

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  56. Great blog, but I feel sorry for all the closed minded who are boycotting the movie. I went to see it yesterday. It was rather good. It captured the look and feel of Lee Child’s stories very well (and, let’s face it, if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, and thus is a fan talking). I would have preferred Ron Perlman to Tom Cruise but Cruise pulled off the fight scenes well. It was brutal stuff, so much so that my companion, who is no stranger to violent movie action, felt quite discomfited by it all.

    It is hard to reconcile Cruise with Reacher but having read every single book except One Shot I found it easy to put aside my mental image of Reacher the Giant and re-imagine him as a more non-descript hobo. Cruise’s lack of bulk was not so apparent in the movie which made creative use of camera angles and perspective rather than CGI, and Cruise put aside his trademark smirk for a much more laconic demeanor, which fitted the part like a glove. However I do come from a unique standpoint in that I was never comfortable with the way in which Lee Child drew Reacher as some kind of Überman and would always have preferred it if he had drawn the character as someone far less intimidating. It’s always seemed to me to be a little incredulous that so many people would choose to pick fights with someone like Reacher but the idea of someone who looks like a pushover but seriously kicks ass is a much more interesting proposal.

    In hindsight, I think the movie will bomb. It will kill the franchise because no-one will blame the casting mistake and Cruise’s ego won’t allow him to let go of the rights for fear that someone else will do it better, but I think it is sad that that will be because if the prejudice if the target audience rather than any objective failing in the movie itself.

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  57. Eltham:

    Thank you… I’m glad you enjoyed reading my blog! It’s cool that the movie appealed to you in the ways that you mention. You have an interesting perspective in thinking of Reacher as being portrayed better as a less-intimidating character so that his fight scenes would seem more like an ordeal and/or a challenge.

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  58. I rarely if ever leave blue comments but I am so underwhelmed by Cruise playing Reacher that I’m sure the Director got confused between Jack and jack -off. I’m not going to say that comment is tongue in cheek, either.

    I’ll continue to read the books but never watch the movie. Lee failed to engage the services of a man but instead got a child.

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  59. Desmond Foulger:
    Agreed. It seems that at some point, people lost sight of the character, forgetting that he (Reacher) is the most important feature of the film. Reacher was sacrificed for the sake of the business aspect of the film. It’s really a shame.

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  60. Wonderful, thanks for explaining in a way that helps non-Reacher fans better understand our dismay at this travesty.

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  61. Eltham:
    In your response you said: “It’s always seemed to me to be a little incredulous that so many people would choose to pick fights with someone like Reacher but the idea of someone who looks like a pushover but seriously kicks ass is a much more interesting proposal.”

    In my opinion, the only time he was in a fight was when he was in a perilous situation. He never went looking for the fights. The guys that would pick fights with him were not 5’7″, but guys as big as Reacher. Just a response to that one part of yours. Otherwise, yes, I loved your response overall. Thanks!

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  62. Tom Cruise is a great actor but I was devastated when I read he was to play Jack Reacher 😦 I have been a huge fan of Jack Reacher books for years, and was very excited when I found out there was to be a Jack Reacher movie….. But Tom Cruise? Lee Child, you have totally sold out to Hollywood and forgotten your fans, who have put the bread and butter on your table for years. Asian looking chick…. You hit the nail on the head with your article! Thank you

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  63. Liesl:

    Hi, and thanks for your comment. =) I unexpectantly saw the Jack Reacher movie poster the other day, and the dismay struck me again. This casting will never make sense to me, and I’m always disappointed when business prevails over art. Thank you for reading my article!

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  64. I said in another place – why didn’t Childs cast Danny De Vito as Reacher and have done with it. To insult our intelligence by saying that we (the dedicated fans of Reacher) were overreacting about the casting of Cruise means I will NEVER buy another Reacher book. I’ve read them ALL – TWICE!!

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  65. Peter:

    DeVito, yeah, you’re so right! I hear you. People who say that we Reacher fans overreacted to the casting have no clue about Reacher. Even sillier are those who say that we should “quit whining.” I mean, people complain about miscastings far less catastrophic than this one!

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  66. Peter – my take on this is I just won’t ever go see a Reacher movie w/Tommie. I will continue to read the books as long as Lee Child writes a sharp book, which most of them have been. I have all the Reacher books too – in hardback even. He has created a character in Reacher I’ve not encountered before and I want to know more of him. A movie without THAT character…and ALL of that character? Nope. Not getting my money. If this has shown Lee Child that the public won’t take Cruise as Reacher, and if by chance someone else takes over that more closely resembles the Reacher we all know….then and only then will I shell out the cash to go see the movie. However, it seems there will be no more Jack Reacher movies. And I’m fine with that. Just leave us with our Reacher and get the little guy out of the way.

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  67. I have to say, I’m tainted… I bought every Reacher book written, and the expectaions for up coming novels were edge of my seat, then TC in a movie?
    Now, I have no interest in Reacher anymore, I really feel like Childs killed the character.
    Honestly, how could you ever read another book without thinking that it was Tom Cruise.
    SAD.

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  68. John – because there’s no way Cruise could ever be Reacher, there’s no character in my mind but the original as described in the books. It won’t be hard at all to still see Reacher. Cruise, on the other hand, is very easy to dismiss. ☺

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  69. Have to agree with you there Jypsycat. I saw a reacher novel with TC on the cover the other day. I nearly cried/died laughing. Of to the pre loved bookshops from now on. Much easier to dismiss TC when he’s not in your face all the time 🙂

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  70. After having seen Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan. Thats my Jack Reacher. He aint pretty, he aint small. He’s cold and speaks only when its necessary. Also he’s Sabretooth. Yeah. Im a nerd.

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  71. Arne:
    Not pretty… not small… not a fast-talking conversationalist… cold… sounds good to me! Seriously, is it too much to ask? (I should check out Ray Donovan! It sounds cool)

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  72. I’ve always favored Josh Holloway as Reacher, and still do, however I’m beginning to lean towards those who are rooting for Ray Donovan. I just want someone who fits the image described in the books, not a midget. There’s a good photo on the Facebook page for ‘Tom Cruise is NOT Jack Reacher’ showing a person of Tom Cruise’s height, and Jack Reacher’s height. Makes the point quite well that we’ve ALL been trying to make all this time.

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  73. Jypsycat:
    I looked up Ray Donovan, and I agree… from what I can tell, Liev Schreiber would be good as Reacher! I mean, I can at least picture him in the role based on the images I’m seeing for Ray Donovan!

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  74. Hey, great writing!! (Sorry for the old news, I recently getting back on facebook page TC is not JR to see what’s the latest news for this franchise)
    You hit all the correct reasons why I can’t stomach ‘Jack Reacher’ especially regarding the ‘roughness and gruffiness’. I still remembered how I’m so excited that Jack Reacher going to be filmed. And some wariness anticipation on how they will successfully translate the book, because you have to admit; the thing that we love about the book (other than Jack Reacher animal magnetism -gee, he had a girl in every book or chances to, isn’t he?) is his thinking process. Even when he’s brawling, his calculating views help readers to immmerse in the action. I’m so frantic, afraid that the film will not be received well (i’m hardcore in promoting jack reacher books to my friends;well up until the film is released) if they failed to ‘act’ the thought. (I’m still wondering what ways can be done other than providing voice over) and they failed me at the casting!!!! I don’t believe it at first. I went to jack reacher official page and there the statement from lee child supporting the casting. I think i don’t believe it until the trailer was released though. Such a dissapoinment !!!(and at the end of the day, it’s become a straight action movie). And seriously i need a support group for it that i joined the fb site. I thought my sister and I are alone in believing Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher. Glad that we -that is me and my sister- live in the same reality -and not some other alternate universe, where TC casting is applaud-

    P/s: i have to admit, i’m so embarrass when every time the fans responded on the height for the problematic issue. While it’s a huge part in characterization and the largest disssapoinment , when we presented in the same way repeatedly to non-readers -or non-purist- it’s become tedious and sound like a harping. You have written it well to explain why we are so hang up on the height. Thanks!

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  75. Rhion:

    You’re so right… we need a support group for Jack Reacher fans still reeling over the miscasting of Jack Reacher!
    Thank you for your comment. I enjoyed reading it, and I’m glad that you enjoyed my post. =)
    You know, people still assume that our only issue or main issue is TC’s height, and to those people, I say: You just don’t get it. It’s about so much more than his height!

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