Author Lee Child on the Tom Cruise casting: “Cruise is a fantastic Jack Reacher”

Tom Cruise

I’ve been scratching my head for quite a few hours over this story. It just doesn’t make any sense at all. Author Lee Child currently presides over one of the most successful literary franchises on earth, and his entire series is based upon a 6’5″ brick sh-thouse (with a 50-inch chest) named Jack Reacher. At no point does Child ever cease to remind his readers what a physically imposing yet benevolent beast Reacher is, and now when it came time for his baby to hit the big screen, Child was perfectly content to let Tom Cruise option the material and even star as the main character. The obvious question here is this — have the Scientologists gotten to Lee Child?

It can’t be that simple though. I mean, I sort of get it. Child has written (and correct me if I’m wrong) 17 Jack Reacher novels. So he’s a franchise-minded kind of guy, and so is Tom Cruise, who loves his action franchises because they mean virtually guaranteed mega profits with very minimal creative effort involved once the ball is rolling. And lift-makers ’round the world will tell you that Tom Cruise wants nothing more in life but to be considered the biggest being ever, right? So now we’ve seen a few Jack Reacher trailers wherein Tom talks tough, kicks some crap around, and gives a guy a noogie before the the bad guys run off screaming. Tom seems blissfully unaware of how ridiculous he looks, but now Lee Child has spoken out in a new featurette about how “Tom Cruise is a fantastic Jack Reacher.” WTF?

[From Yahoo!]

Look, I don’t have a problem with Tom Cruise being portrayed as an ass-kicking tough guy in an action movie. Nor do I take an issue with him playing a vigilante character either. So why didn’t he hire some writers to create a new character for him instead of slapping the “Jack Reacher” label on top of it? The main issue here is that, within Child’s own books, the physicality of the character is integral to the stories being told. I don’t care how so very sensitive Tom claims to be to the Reacher fans — they have every right to be upset. Hopefully, they won’t back down and reward this nonsense by buying movie tickets. But they probably will, and Cruise’s reign of terror will continue.

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

Poster and movie stills courtesy of AllMoviePhoto

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67 Responses to “Author Lee Child on the Tom Cruise casting: “Cruise is a fantastic Jack Reacher””

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  1. Tuxedo Cat says:

    I’ve listened to most of the Jack Reacher audiobooks.

    I think Tom is a good actor, but I just can’t get past the Scientology with him.

    He’s good-looking, etc. but I can’t even picture Jack Reacher discussing Scientology.

  2. bluhare says:

    Liam Neeson should have been Jack Reacher.

  3. BooBooLaRue says:

    Eric Bana! Where is my BANA story for today?????

  4. hazeldazel says:

    that pose he does on that top poster makes me giggle. Worst Casting EVAR!

  5. lizbet says:

    This casting seems like a move designed to perpetuate Tom’s ruse of physicality.

    I love the Jack Reacher novels and was thrilled when I found out there would be a movie. My heart sank when I heard it was him. Dammit. Tom ruins everything.

    Can’t believe a truly enormous beast of a hero gets the midge treatment and the author is okay with it. Now I’m grumpy.

    • Blannie says:

      Me too! I loved the first 10+ Jack Reacher novels. Now they’re pretty formulaic but even so, with Tom Cruise cast as Jack Reacher, I’d never see that movie in a million years. Worst casting choice I can remember.

      • Shannon72 says:

        This is horrible casting. I don’t get it at all. I said the same thing when I found out Tom Hanks was playing the lead in the DaVinci Code. The character was specifically described in the book as looking like Harrison Ford in his professorial tweeds in the Indiana Jones movies. Then they hire Hanks?? It ruined the movie for me…just couldn’t buy him in it. And there was no way he was going to score Audrey Tatou. I am a HuGE Reacher fan, but I will not sit through a Tom Cruise movie, even for Reacher.

  6. Tuxedo Cat says:

    I would like to have seen The Rock in this role….

  7. Ms Kay says:

    Uh.. Of course Author Lee Child will say Tom Cruise is a fantastic Jack Reaper. It’s business talking. He got a big cheque at the end no matter what happens at the box office afterwards.

    The top poster is awesome. It’s like an exquisite corpse game, 3 different body parts haha!

  8. Jane says:

    Bedhead, author’s are just as susceptible to money and fame as the next guy. Lee Child probably signed away his rights, as that seems the standard when a book is optioned. He probably had no so say in who was cast and the movie makers needed a big name to get the money.

    For him to complain may hurt the project and that would hurt his wallet. Of course, maybe he has no complaints. He is just so thrilled to have his books on the big screen, he doesn’t care.

    I don’t know what Lee Child’s take is on fan fiction, but I find it very ironic that many author’s hate it. Not just because of the legalities involved, which I totally understand, but because they don’t want anyone taking their characters and stories and doing something different with them, even if fan fiction people are huge fans.

    Yet, the same authors sign away their rights to have a movie or TV series made of their work. They may be consultants, but they really have no say so on what happens on screen.

    • Belle says:

      I have read several times that Child sold the rights to this a long time ago… (before the entire series was the smashing success it is now) and they eventually landed with a production company that Tom owns. Sounded like Lee Child retained no rights when it came to casting (a mistake he is not likely to repeat), and of course… Tom decided to cast himself as Reacher.
      If this is all true, I understand. Hopefully Child learned from the mistake of not retaining casting rights. I also understand his dilemma… probably needs to promote the film, and sound excited. Having said that, I think he is going overboard, and really offending some of his greatest fans (including this one!). The moment he said in an interview (in defense of Tiny Tom playing the HUGE Reacher) that Reacher’s size is a ‘metaphor’ in the books, I was angry. It’s one thing for him to sound happy with the way the film turned out, etc. But it is quite another to try to twist things around… and rewrite the books, saying something that isn’t true. That whole “Reacher’s size is a metaphor” is total and complete BS, and anyone who has read all of the books knows it.

      For whatever it’s worth, I will NOT be seeing the movie, and there are many other die-hard Reacher fans who will join me in sitting this one out. I’m sure they will sell some tickets… but they won’t be (for the most part) to those who are great fans of the book series.

      • Katie Too says:

        Gosh that sounds familiar…jk.

        I grabbed my old paperbacks last night and it sounds like the movie rights for some books were purchased at least back in 2003 based on the ‘about the author’ blurb. It’s so vague the purchase could have covered the rights to the character, past and future books or who knows.

        Belle or anyone else, can you flesh-out any details? My google-fu is weak.

  9. DB says:

    I still think that Joe Manganiello might have been a better choice. He fits the physicality of Reacher almost exactly, and he can pull off scruffy with the best of them.

    Odd casting indeed.

  10. Pandora says:

    Well, I mean, he has to say that doesn’t he lol……..

  11. Relli says:

    I had never heard of these novels until you guys started talking about it on here, but as soon as i saw the first trailer had a super hearty laugh. I think I might have yelled at the screen GTFO….

    This is exactly why I hate when my favorite novels are turned into movies. They always mess with certain aspects that not only important to the integrity of the story but ALSO always end up attaching someone who doesn’t fit the part in order to ensure ticket sales. I’m sorry Tommy Girl can wear the biggest lifts in the world but i still not going to see him as some bad ass.

  12. lower-case deb says:

    is this like a re-write of a literary work. kinda like the fast-moving zombie vs. slow-moving zombie of WWZ? only: short-small person vs. brickhouse-giant person of JR?

    however, if they’re somehow trying to fool the masses, the studios should embargo that last still. JR (the brick-outhouse version) has probably forgotten how to “stare up” at someone, because he’s so used to “stare down” instead.
    unless, that is a still of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher rolling his eyes. or using his eyes to reach back and scratch his brain with his eyeballs.

  13. Madpoe says:

    Never heard of these books, but my husband giggles like a school girl when the trailer comes on, guess its a guy thing? I can say Cruise does not look his age in this, still I would’ve liked Liam Neeson in the role.

  14. ladybert62 says:

    I realize it is an optical illusion but in that last picture even the girl is taller than midget tom! ha ha

  15. Chatcat says:

    Just like Pitt’s fail of his recent film, Cruise is cursed to fail too.

  16. Green is Good says:

    They should have cast Hugh Jackman.

  17. Ann says:

    All I say is that Tom Cruise was universally ridiculed when he took on Vampire Lestat and yet it was a smashing hit after the movie release. I’ll wait for the full movie before thrashing him.

  18. Reader says:

    Lee Child was at a mystery writer’s convention a couple of months ago publicly despairing about this casting, so this story may be to try to combat what he’s said to readers.

  19. junegorilla says:

    Reminds me of when Ann Rice was bullied into conradicting her statement that Tom would be a terrible choice for Lestat. Which he was. Lestat should have looked more like Rutger Haur when he was at his peak. I cannot even imagine what sort of pull the COS really has on the entertainment industry. Luckily the public doesn’t belive everything they read i.e. “John and Kelly talke about their great marriage”, “Tom will move heaven and earth to spend time with Suri:, “Tom never interviewed young actresses for the part of wife #3″, “John Travolta is NOT gay”, etc.

  20. lower-case deb says:

    also, they should have spent less time in making cruise’s face look craggly and scary, and invest some time in making his hands look the part.

    those hands look like hands that my late-grandpa would call soft “can you even open a jar” hands. doesn’t look like hands that can slap someone’s face backwards.

  21. Happy21 says:

    I have loathed Tom Cruise since the Oprah couch jumping incident.

    I have read almost all of the Reacher books and I find this casting laughable. I always pictured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Reacher (or a man with the same physical attributes). He is 6’5″ and 250 pounds and that is mentioned in EVERY SINGLE book. We can’t ignore that. There is no way that Tom Cruise could kick the ass that Reacher does.

    I don’t imagine Lee Child thinks Tom Cruise is a fantastic Reacher truly. He sold the rights and now he needs the movie to be a success so he’s going to do what he can to make those of us who are true Reacher fans think that if he says it’s ok then it must in fact be ok. Sorry, Lee, it’s not OK. Tom Cruise sucks and so will this movie. I will not be wasting my money.

  22. Katie Too says:

    My loathing of Cruise aside, this was such an awful decision, and deep down, Lee Child hates it. As mentioned, the hugeness of Reacher, his physicality is critical to the books. Otherwise, don’t we just have another Ethan Hunt with fewer gadgets? Heck, before 9/11/01, Reacher didn’t even carry an ID.

    IIRC though, movie rights were purchased before the Reacher novels became wildly popular so Child probably couldn’t negotiate much for input. $ is the only reason Child supports this.

    If you’re not a fan yet, read the old Reacher books first, the recent stuff does seem more focused towards new movies.

  23. Kaboom says:

    Casting Cruise in the role makes it a parody, no matter how much they paid Lee Child to give his blessing. I wouldn’t pirate that shit if it saved a baby duck.

  24. Sapphire says:

    Reacher is also a blue-eyed blonde. I could take the change in coloring but no way this guy is Reacher who lives in his body, is ex-Army, has an excellent mind AND is hot!

  25. erika says:

    even his model chick in those photos is taller than him…

    i have no issues with his height (hey hey not really….!) it’s his douchiness outlook and crap jock ass acting ‘skills’

    “I have a gun” tom as jack reacher says in a mean way

  26. Astrid says:

    I’ve read all the Reacher novels….yes, the size of the main character has always been portrayed as part of every story line. I like some of the suggestions from previous commenters…probably too late though! Casting Tom as Jack is just wrong. I won’t pay to see the movie.

  27. Shelly says:

    Correct me if i’m mistaken but isn’t Jack Reacher also fair-haired as in blonde. Tom Cruise being Jack Reacher is pathetic, when i see the trailer i cringe.

  28. dorothy says:

    Him and the whole Scientology thing just creeps me out. Have no desire to support him or his cult by seeing movie.

  29. TG says:

    Never heard of the Jack Reacher novels but would never watch anything with cruise again. I made that decision even before Katie Holmes had the courage and good sense to leave his a**, but all the Co$ crap that has come out has only confirmed my decision not to support this manic freak. I think the author wants the films to be successful because the author will probably become even richer than JK Rowling. This guy Reacher does sound kind of awesome so maybe I will check out the book. I love a good bad a** with a take no prisoners mentality.

  30. Feebee says:

    The line in the trailer (5 on 1 – 3 on 1 etc) makes sense coming from a 6-5, 250lb man but sounds stupid coming out of Cruise’s mouth.

    I’m surprised Cruise didn’t option Alex Cross.

  31. KellyinSeattle says:

    He always plays the same type of roles…

  32. Carolyn says:

    I saw the trailer for this whilst seeing Skyfall on the weekend. Skyfall – awesomeness. Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher – not awesome. No-one was paying any attention to the trailer. For those not familiar with the novels this movie is meaningless.

  33. Therese says:

    You know what I thought of when I read this? It took me back to the time when Interview with the Vampire was being made. Anne Rice was vehemently against Tom Cruise being cast as Lestat. I guess she had no control over the casting, but he was not who she envisioned her protagonist to be. Cruise was very powerful at that time, and he got what he wanted. Then Anne Rice, having been very vocal with her dislike of his casting, came out with a statement that she had been wrong, and reconsidered and now believed him to be a great choice. What else could she do? I think Lee Child may be in the same boat. What else can he do? See his baby (his character and stories) eviscerated because of the miscasting? I think he is probably supporting his character and stories rather than Tom Cruise. I am very sorry about the casting. In one of the pictures, it shows Tom confronting a bad guy, and he is looking up to him. I just don’t picture that little boy voice threatening big bad men. He is not a big, bad man. I’m sorry for this, and sorry for Lee Child. But excuse me, did Lee Child sell out? Because if I had a franchise, I wouldn’t sell it to the movies unless I had control over who was cast as the lead character. This happened to Sylvester Stallone when he wrote the first Rocky. The studios were foaming at the mouth to get the story, but he consistently refused unless he was cast as the main character. And he eventually won. After a fight.

    • TrollyDolly says:

      I remember my visceral horror when he was announced as Lestat, and then my vindication when Anne Rice’s hostility to the casting was revealed. But, to be fair, TC did a terrific job – and she recanted and so did many nay sayers, based on his acting ability I thought – but as you and @22 JuneGorilla surmised that may have been due to studio pressure.

      I loathe $cientology, and I have avidly scrutinised TC’s carry-on since the couch jumping incident. I think he is bollick deep in a vile and manipulative – albeit diminished and dwindling- cult.

      Still, TC CAN act – but this lunacy of striving to be an action hero is just irritatingly boring and pointless. If he focused on real films as opposed to crash bang wallop CGI shite, he may restore some faith in his ability. As it is he is an ageing twerp in shoe lifts who has to have his “church” dictate his life.

  34. Therese says:

    June Gorilla – apologies. You had already mentioned Anne Rice. And Belle, you said that you read Lee Child had long ago sold the rights. I was just so vehement about how I felt that I wrote a comment before reading the others. Agree with you both.

  35. annie says:

    I became a Tom fan when he hooked up with Katie, and such I always gave him the benefit of the doubt, even with his beliefs. But after all the things that I have read, and things that have come out, eg Vanity Fair, and other things, the last thing I am is a fan of his.
    I also saw the trailer a few weeks ago, when we saw Argo, I thought it was good, regardless what I think of him,
    His movies are entertaining, and a huge amount of people who are going to see the movie, hav’nt heard about Lee Child or Jack Reacher, so I don’t think it matters that Tom is playing him.
    I want to see it, but I know I’m going to sit there throughout the whole movie, thinking that he’s a liar, and good at deception, and everything else, so maybe it will have to be a miss.

  36. YvetteW says:

    I love the Jack Reacher series and I think Tom Cruise is woefully miscast. I always pictured Reacher looking more like Dog the Bounty Hunter in size and stature. I can’t blame Lee Child b/c I am sure he is contractually obligated to endorse TC. I will vote with my $$. Can’t wait for the next book and will skip this movie.

  37. Dizzybenny says:

    Wolverine in the original comic books was 5’5 yet in the movies they took an actor that’s 6’3.
    Do we care now that he’s taller then the comic book character?
    So far it looks like a kick ass action flick.

  38. Lem says:

    Tom cruise is not Jack Reacher

  39. rainy17 says:

    I’m so disgusted I can’t even read the Reacher series anymore. Lee Childs did not have to allow this embarrassment of a person to option his books.

  40. vvy says:

    Tom Cruise is the biggest movie star in the world. Of COURSE he wanted Tom to do it! And of course he’s going to endorse him now that he’s actually done it.
    Ditto about Anne Rice. Most people have never read Jack Reacher books, so they won’t know the difference.

  41. Lisa says:

    If Reacher is blond, blue-eyed and huge (I haven’t read the books) – wouldn’t the Thor actor have been a no-brainer for this role??? Love to see HIM in action! The midget Tom…not so much.

  42. betteboo says:

    Is the author one of Xenu’s own?

  43. Lydia says:

    You have to be crazy to use Tom for this part. TrueReacher fans will not go for him in a movie.

  44. Pam says:

    Of course Cruise would cast himself as this is probably how he sees himself. My husband and I won’t be
    going to see Cruise as Reacher as that is totally
    ridiculous casting. If Cruise really cared about
    his profession, since he owns the production rights,
    he would have cast it the character appropriately — obviously, he cares more about his own ego than
    respecting a character.