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Tom Cruise Ruined Jack Reacher

Updated on August 24, 2014
Billrrrr profile image

Bill Russo is featured in the film & TV show, The Bridgewater Triangle & has written several books (both fiction & non) on Amazon Kindle.

by Bill Russo

Like millions of readers of the 18 (as of 2013) Jack Reacher novels, I was shocked when I heard that Tom Cruise was signed to play Lee Child's giant (6'5" 250 pounds) literary baby.

Reacher's size factors into every plot. It is an integral part of who he is and what he does. So when it was announced that a five foot eight inch actor would play the part of an unstoppable giant, I was not buying it.

The film has grossed over 200 million dollars on a budget of 60 million so it has to be considered a success. The truth is that the Reacher franchise is so strong that any actor could have played the part.

On the big screen, I was pretty disappointed, but on home television the film did seem stronger. Tom Cruise plays much better on the small screen.

Cruise has been signed on for three Jack Reacher films. I am hoping there will be a great new actor for the part in 'Jack Reacher 4'. Lee Child had a similar statement in a recent interview when he said the series can be like James Bond - a number of different actors playing the eponymous role.

The inspiration for Reacher's name came (before the first book was published) when Lee Child's wife made a comment while they were at the super market.

Lee, like Jack Reacher, is close to six feet and six inches (6'6") tall. When he easily grabbed an item from the top shelf at the market, his wife said,

"Well if the writing thing does not pan out, you can be a reacher at the super market".

That's just one more reason why Tom Cruise was a poor pick for the part - he can act...but he can never be a reacher at a super market.

Lee Child Thinks Reacher Can Be Like James Bond with Several Different Actors Playing the Part,

'Jack Reacher' was actually the novel 'One Shot'

The producers wanted to capitalize on the Reacher franchise, so they retitled Lee Child's 'One Shot', to simply 'Jack Reacher'. Probably a good choice, since Lee Child has sold more than 60 million copies of his books - and the laconic giant, Jack Reacher is unquestionably the star and centerpiece of every single book.

''One Shot', was far from the first book in the series. It came in the middle (the ninth) of the eighteen novels written as of 2013.

The character was introduced in "The Killing Floor" in 2007. The debut entry in the franchise met with awards and acclaim including three "Best New Novel" kudos.

Each successive year has brought forth one new Jack Reacher opus, with the exception of 2010 when Lee Child produced both "61 Hours", and "Worth Dying For".

In public, Child has been supportive of the choice of Tom Cruise. Yet, in a recent interview, he admitted that he signed the book deal several years ago when he had nowhere near the clout that he now possesses.

Before 'Jack Reacher' hit the big screen in the U.S. it was virutally guaranteed that there would be at least two or three films in the series. Poor box office in the U.S. nearly scuttled those plans. Stateside the film grossed about 80 million - at a cost of 60. Those numbers don't light up anybody's screen.

Yet, when the strong overseas numbers are added in, the gross has come up to about 200 million. Those figures would seem to say that there will be at least a "Jack Reacher 2".

Adding a boost to the chances are early returns on sales and rentals of DVDs.

The DVD quickly hit the top of the rental chart and for some time was the hardest film to find at a RedBox. Some people on Cape Cod had to travel all the way from the lower Cape, around Eastham and P-Town, all the way to the Mid Cape towns of Dennis and Harwich, to find a RedBox that actually contained a copy of the disc. This scenario was repeated all across the country as Reacher stayed near the top of the rental list for several weeks.

The producers have already selected which film they plan to do next. They may however, need to rethink their strategy and find a better way to present Tom Cruise.

In the words of one fan of the books, "The Jack Reacher film did not succeed because of Tom Cruise. It made it: despite Tom Cruise."

This Book May Be Chosen For the Seauel

Lee Child Suggests 'Worth Dying For'

Just before the release of "Jack Reacher", Lee Child spoke about the problems of putting his series on film. He said that 'Reacher is a giant but there are no giant actors out there.'

Regarding a sequel, he thinks that the next film should not be in an urban setting as was the first. He suggests the fifteenth entry in his series, "Worth Dying For", which takes place entirely in Nebraska.

Reacher finds a woman who has been beaten up by her husband. The local doctor refuses to go to help the woman. Jack gets involved and the situation snowballs, as it always does in a Lee Child novel, when Reacher discovers criminal activity with world wide connections.

"Worth Dying For" shows Reacher at his military best; featuring much more action and skill than was displayed in "One Shot". If this book is chosen for the sequel, there is a good chance that all the Lee Child fans who stayed away from the initial offering; will be lined up to be first in the cinema to see "Jack Reacher: Part 2"


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    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Whatever you say bill.......Just what I need, MORE books to read. Good thing reading is not illegal (YET!)...I'd be doing Life, without the possibility of parole.

      I have a stack of books waiting to be read taller than I am (and definitely taller than Tom Cruise! LOL)....and to top it off, I just brought home 4 more that I found in a thrift store for 79 cents a piece! Who the Heck would pass that up?? Hard Cover!

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      4 years ago from Cape Cod

      For most people it might be best to begin at the starting line, but for me Lee Child's most interesting character -other than Reacher- is Frances Neagley. A former MP, like Jack, she is slim, quiet and one of the most dangerous people in the world. Shunning human touch, she is vulnerable yet caring. She is complex but simple. She might love Reacher (we don't know) but they have never been linked romantically; yet are fast friends.

      Neagley appears in Without Fail, the Affair and Bad Luck and Trouble. All three are good. Try Without Fail first. It's one of the earlier books, fifth or sixth I think.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Bill.......Really? I don't think it's ever been recommended to me before, to skip the fisrt few books of a series and read the 4th or 5th. Care to elaborate just to soothe my curiosity? (Your description of Reacher has to be the furthest description of Cruise I can imagine!) What was the person in charge of casting thinking??

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      4 years ago from Cape Cod

      Hi fpherj. It seems like most people today are tall. I have nothing against short people. I am only five eleven myself (really 5'8" but I played baseball in the Babe Ruth league and they granted me an extra three inches.)

      But seriously, Lee Child, who himself is well over six feet and closer to seven, writes Reacher as a larger than life giant. Unstoppable. Not handsome, yet always attractive to women. He owns virtually nothing, carries little money, and wears his clothes for a few days before throwing them away after buying new duds from any place that carries extra large.

      Even the name was created to denote size. Child says that he got the idea for the name from his wife who commented to him "if the writing thing does not work out, you could always get a job as a reacher in a supermarket."

      Pick any one of his works to start with. I do not recommend the first, "The Killing Floor". It's good but I think he really hit his stride four or five books into the series.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hello Bill......Tom Cruise has a "name" in Hollywood and I will grant you that he is a fine actor. I know nothing about this series by Lee Child, nor have I seen the movie.

      However, simply by what you have shared here, it seems he was a poor choice to play "Reacher" (in the physical sense.)

      The main reason I am responding is to rub salt in a wound, I guess.....bad as that may sound. You gave Tom's height at 5'8". This may be listed in PRINT, but that's a definite Hollywood stretch. Tom is barely 5'6" in the flesh and his stocking feet. Believe it or not, a friend of mine works in "Costume" for an enormous Movie-Set Company. A little more celebrity fact-check? Al Pacino and Richard Dreyfus are all of 5'3"....

      I think you've interested me in Child's work. ....Up+++

    • Billrrrr profile imageAUTHOR

      Bill Russo 

      4 years ago from Cape Cod

      I watched it Jaye and the character Lee Child created is so strong, that it overcame a lot of Tom Cruise's 'short'comings and it was watchable, but no where near what it should have been. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Lee Child is one of my favorite writers, and I like the Jack Reacher character. When I read that Tom Cruise would play Reacher, I thought, "Terrible casting!" I decided not to watch the movie. I don't want to spoil my novel-reading experience.

      Voted Up++ and shared



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