If you’re a Jack Reacher fan, you’ve probably already heard the news. If you’re not, let me tell you what recently made me jump up and down with proverbial glee: there will be no additional Jack Reacher movies. Instead, we’ll get something better. At some point in the future, we’re going to get a JACK REACHER STREAMING SERIES and TOM CRUISE WILL NOT BE CAST AS REACHER! Because Jack Reacher author Lee Child loves us, and he loves Reacher, and he wants to see screen-Reacher appear as his actual Reacher self as much as we do, I’m thinking. Child has so carefully crafted Reacher and fleshed him out over the years that the Tom-Cruise-as-Reacher news felt like a plunge into an alternate universe the majority of us would never want to visit. And I never did visit. I’m sure I’m not the only Reacher fan who avoided that universe.
I refrained from watching Reacher on the big screen, but now I can look forward to watching him on the little screen, which is the better screen, in my opinion. The little screen is today’s big screen. We’re not in a Golden Age of television… we’re in a Platinum Age of television. Jack Reacher would fit right into our existing catalog of excellent streaming series heroes, and not in Tom Cruise’s shoes.
I first read this announcement on Twitter, and then my friend directed my attention to an article about it (linked above, but here it is again in case you missed it). That was about a month ago, and I’m still ecstatic about it.
Of course, the biggest buzz-worthy aspect of this news is the speculation: who could take on the role of Reacher in the upcoming series? Lee Child would like to hear our thoughts. Child is open to suggestions, he says. (Reportedly.)
Lee Child will probably never see this post, so my chiming in here is for my own amusement more than anything.
My thoughts and opinions:
–The ideal Reacher wouldn’t appear to be congenial in his countenance. Reacher doesn’t go around looking like Mr. Nice Guy. He goes around looking menacing, even though he is a nice guy. He’s nice until you annoy him or otherwise get on his bad side, that is.
–The ideal Reacher wouldn’t have a pretty face with fine bone structure and/or features arranged in a way that makes him conventionally attractive. Lee Child has actually described him as “ugly.” If the new Reacher actor has stock good looks, he should at least have the sort of looks that could be readily roughened/uglied-up in the hair/makeup department.
–Rather than walking into a room and drawing attention with his good looks, the ideal Reacher would exude a low-frequency charisma particularly (maybe only) detectable by women.
–The ideal Reacher would also bring into a room an air of unadulterated badassery. Any glibness on his part would come across as less than amusing, even if his words are amusing (and they often are).
–The ideal Reacher actor would be over six feet tall at the least, and he would weigh somewhere close to (at least) 200 lbs.
I wouldn’t insist that the actor stand at 6′, 5″ or weigh 220 lbs, because I don’t think that would be necessary. He should meet a minimal height requirement of, say, six feet, and he should either be built or have a physique that’s capable of being built. From there, shoe lifts and physical training could make up any deficit, or at least get the actor close to Reacher’s physical description.
–The ideal Reacher actor would have on his resume action-flick experience and a skill set that goes with it, or he should be trainable in this respect. The actor needs to be convincing as a guy who could crush a person’s throat with one hand. He should also know his way around firearms, as Reacher is an ex-MP (military cop) superior with firearms… and he uses them often.
–The ideal Reacher actor would be faceted enough to play a ruthless vigilante who’s theoretically a sociopath, but unquestionably a good guy. Reacher would seem like an easy character to play with his many one-liners and moments of “saying nothing,” but he’s far from one-dimensional. Lee Child created a complex character in Reacher. An ideal Reacher actor would have the ability to transmit Reacher’s character nuances.
With all of the above in mind, I’m going to throw in the names of two well-known actors who may seem unlikely. I’ve seen these guys in action, and their actions suggest Reacher-potential.
- Hugh Jackman
- Bradley Cooper
1). The case for Bradley Cooper:
I’ll start with Cooper, because I can already hear exclamations of disbelief.
Bradley Cooper may seem too good-looking at first glance, but in my opinion, his prettiness is borderline and nothing the hair/makeup department couldn’t fix. Cooper could be easily unsmoothed over into a guy who looks rugged, weathered, and age-appropriate for Reacher, who I imagine to be anywhere from mid-forties to early-fifties. (Cooper is 43.) The hair people would only have to bleach his hair blond. Cooper already has Reacher’s notable blue eyes.
Any doubts that such a transformation is possible, consider what hair/makeup people did to Charlize Theron for her role in Monster:
(Charlize also gained weight for the role, of course.)
Bradley Cooper is 6′, 1″. All he would need is three-inch lifts in his shoes.
There’s evidence out there that Cooper’s physique takes well to bulking-up gym regimens.
(And how about that stone-cold stare?)
His biceps aren’t as big as basketballs, but in my opinion, he looks like he could f*ck someone up fairly efficiently.
Cooper is a talented actor who could bring out Reacher’s character nuances.
Cooper is fluent in French. Reacher’s mother was French. Presumably, Reacher speaks enough French to get by, if he isn’t fluent. Cooper would need no language or accent training for this. Script-writers would be able to deepen the character and add intrigue with snippets of back-story featuring Reacher’s mother. There’s at least one instance in the Reacher canon that has Reacher visiting his mother in Paris.
(The video below is long; just click anywhere in it and listen for a minute.)
Cooper has a solid action hero credential in his starring role in American Sniper. His performance in the lead role of Chris Kyle earned him a Best Actor Oscar nomination, and it’s actually what brought him to mind when I thought of who might play Reacher.
Brief synopsis of American Sniper from IMDB: “Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.”
Reacher is ex-Army and possesses legendary shooting skills untouchable by mere mortals.
2). The case for Hugh Jackman:
I have less to say about Hugh Jackman; he’s pretty convincing all on his own, I think. Let’s gloss over him, starting with the fact that Jackman possesses naturally rugged, off-beat looks.
Moving on, although Jackman is Australian, his American accent is perfect. He also has a deeper voice that we know (if we’ve seen any of the Wolverine movies) can be growly.
And Jackman is 6′, 2″. A set of mere two-inch lifts in his shoes would do it.
And Jackman is built and can easily become more built. His biceps aren’t as large as basketballs, either, but keep the bulk and lose just a little bit of the Wolverine-lean? I’d see Reacher in there, for sure.
Hugh Jackman’s fight scenes are vicious, even though we haven’t seen him throw punches as much as we’ve seen him slash at people with bladed fingertips.
There’s no doubt that Jackman can look scary. He can be scary. He’s terribly talented. I think he’d make a great Reacher.
Thank you, Mr. Child, for offering us a Reacher streaming series and an opportunity to make suggestions for the role of Reacher!