The general public has always had something to say about the casting choices made for much loved characters. Generally they are unfounded complaints based on what they thought of the actor’s previous work. For example: the announcement of Heath Ledger as The Joker was met with criticism, it was just unbelievable that the gay cowboy could be a convincingly terrifying Joker… how wrong they were.
Jack Reacher is a very popular, literary American hero who drifts (literally) from one violent situation to another and always saves the day. He is a 6ft 5in action hero with blonde hair and no religious affiliation. And the Hollywood star they’ve got to star as Reacher in the forthcoming film adaptation is… Tom Cruise… HUH!?!
Due for release in Feb. 2013, Jack Reacher will be based on the 8th book in Lee Child’s bestselling series, One Shot. The story follows Reacher as he heads for a small city in Indiana to help investigate a sniper killer who has already claimed 5 victims. Of course, all is not as it seems and this thinking man’s action hero sets off to solve the case.
When Cruise was given the role over a year ago, it led to a huge outcry from the diehard fans off Child’s action man, also known as “Reacher Creatures”. The “Reacher Creatures” were so angry in fact, that an online petition was set up by them to encourage people to “boycott” the film because they believed it was such a bad casting decision. However, a lot of this negativity died away when Lee Child gave his blessing to Cruise, stating that he thought Tom was a good choice for the role. Despite this though, when articles appear about this film, the comment boxes remain filled with people saying that they think Cruise is a terrible choice for Reacher.
I’m going to be honest here, I am not a fan of Tom Cruise and generally groan when I see a trailer for whatever his new film is. However, this is less due to his acting ability and more to do with his personal life; his religious beliefs are enough for me to thoroughly dislike him. Nevertheless, at the moment I am currently reading the first book in the Jack Reacher series Killing Floor. When I read it I admittedly find it hard to imagine Cruise as Reacher, but I also can’t imagine any other actor playing him. Maybe the question we should be asking is not ‘why Tom Cruise?’ but why not Tom Cruise?
Aside from the obvious visual differences – but did anyone ever really imagine Robert Downy Jr. when reading a Sherlock Holmes novel? – Cruise is a more than adequate action hero. While the quality of the movies got progressively worse as the series went on, Cruise’s performance as Ethan Hawke in the Mission Impossible films always made for exciting viewing.
It’s Tom Cruise’s romantic acting that I believe could derail his performance. He has the ability to portray the confidence of Reacher’s character, but Reacher is also a ladies man, something Cruise has never been able to convincingly exude. His all-too-serious stare never softens, making his romantic attachments in movies cringe-worthy and unconvincing. The scenes of attempted love interest in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol were nothing short of laughable and the less said about Vanilla Sky the better.
Nonetheless, I will not write off Cruise as Jack Reacher (as much as I would like to) until I have seen the finished result. However, I will say that any interest from me in the future of the series (sequel ideas are already being discussed) rests on what I make of his performance and this seems to be the thoughts of other film buffs that I have discussed this topic with. Maybe that’s why the title of the film was changed from One Shot to Jack Reacher, the original title having too many connotations to the importance of Cruise’s performance.