Jack Reacher is back on TV tonight. The film starring Tom Cruise, that is, not the highly acclaimed new Amazon Prime show. Size may not be everything but… Although the actor is just over 5’7 in height, he has established himself as a major action hero in films like Top Gun or The Edge of Tomorrow and the Mission Impossible franchise. However, there was a huge outcry when he was cast as Jack Reacher – a role he went on to play in two movies with moderate box office success. These days, films, theatre and TV shows are awash with colour, gender and age-blind casting but there is a very good reason why there was so much outcry over ‘Tiny Tom’s’ performance.
That Cruise has a powerful screen presence is undeniable, but Reacher is described in the books as a huge and hulking 6’5 towering presence who physically intimidates all those he meets. It is absolutely integral to his personality and his entire storyline.
Fans of the books were outraged when the diminutive star took the role in the 2012 film and a sequel four years later. By contrast, in the Amazon Prime reboot Alan Ritchson clocks in at an impressive 6’2. He also packs a muscular physicality he has brought to every role in his career so far, most recently as damaged superhero Hawk on the DC comicbook series Titans (available in the UK on Netflix).
Child has spoken about the clear differences between the two stars and addressed the fan fury in an interview with Metro.
Child acknowledged that the superstar’s screen presence in the movies had pleased fans who hadn’t read the books, who “were kind of convinced by Cruise.”
He wanted the new show to please everyone: “we’re also focusing on the non-book readers. What do they need? They need just great entertainment, they don’t have the reference already, and so we also had to satisfy them.”
Ritchson made his screen debut in 2005 as Aquaman on the TV show Smallville and has also played Raphael on the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles films and the villainous tribute Gloss in The Hunger Games; Catching Fire.
The 40-year-old sent a direct message to Cruise as he stepped into the megastar’s shoes.
Ritchson said: “If I was ever so lucky to get a stamp of approval from him, I could die happy. I’d probably quit while I was ahead. I think one season’s enough if I heard that from him. He’s a legend, I should be so lucky. I care deeply about what he and the rest of the people that have been a part of this for a long time think. I want to get this right.”
The first series was based on the original Jack Reacher novel, 1997’s Killing Floor, and was a spectacular success, the first Amazon show to top the US viewing charts. With plans to tackle his subsequent adventures in chronological order, as well as bringing in material from the associated short stories, the confirmed second series will be based around the eleventh book, bad Luck and Trouble.
JACK REACHER (2012 FILM) IS ON CHANNEL 4 AT 9PM TONIGHT
JACK REACHER 92022 AMAZON PRIME TV SHOW) IS AVAILABLE TO WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME