For several weeks, I have been irritated, annoyed, perplexed, dumbfounded, puzzled, and confused. What has me so riled up? About 18 months ago, I found a series of books I really liked, the Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child.
Some of you may have heard of Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise plays the character in the movie released last December of the same name. When I first caught the trailer, I was zipping through commercials on the DVR and had to reverse to watch it. I was so excited! At last Jack Reacher was coming to the big screen. Then, my bubble burst, I was totally deflated, cliché yes, but that describes exactly how I felt. I was all those words I listed above and more when I saw Tom Cruise had been cast as Reacher.
WTF I thought, how can Cruise possibly be Jack Reacher? If you’ve never read any of the books, you don’t realize that Jack Reacher is 6’5″, 220-250 pounds, dirty blonde hair, ice blue eyes. I have nothing against Cruise or his height, I am vertically challenged myself. There are so many facets to the Jack Reacher character other than his physique and physical stature, but when you have an image of a character in your mind, based obviously on the authors’ description, the image of Jack Reacher being 6’5″ can not be portrayed by someone so obviously NOT 6’5″.
I am currently reading A Wanted Man; Reacher is attempting to hitchhike and this is the scene. “Reacher was a big man, six feet five inches tall, heavily built, and that night as always he looked a little ragged and unkempt. Lonely drivers wanted pleasant and unthreatening company, and Reacher knew from long experience that visually, he was no one’s first choice of companion. Too intimidating.” Can Cruise pull this off? I don’t think so.
Another scene. “The kid described him as gigantic, with a busted nose, all raw and crusted with blood. The kid admits at first he was a little scared. The guy looked like something our of a slasher movie. Like a wild man.” Other than the gigantic part, Cruise could act this one out. And yet another colorful observation. “He wasn’t a gorilla and he wasn’t like something our of a slasher movie. But she could see why he had been described that way. He was huge, for a start. He was extremely tall, and extremely broad, and long-armed and long-legged…His neck was thick and his hands were the size of dinner plates”. Cruise, um, no.
I felt that Lee Child had sold out his character to Hollywood. So, as I got ready to write this post, I did a little research on Lee Child. I wanted to know if others felt as I do. Surprise! There is a Facebook page, “Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher”. I found bloggers expressing exactly my sentiments. Apparently, Jack Reacher novels have quite a following.
I found many interviews in which Child discusses the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. In one he was asked if Tom Cruise does pull off Reacher, Child said, “Cruise is this monster celebrity—global superstar and tabloid fodder. That’s all in your face. But you have to look past that. You’ve got to look underneath at what’s there. And what’s there with Cruise? This is in no way damning with faint praise, but he shows up and does the work, and he does it properly and on time. And that’s a rare thing. He is utterly reliable, and to me there’s nothing more important. He will do the job, and he will do it the way it should be done. That’s 85 percent of the battle. The next sort of 10 percent is talent, and Cruise has that too. He is a talented professional. Reacher is in good hands.” Well, I guess I just disagree.
I understand his position that “the book world is different from the movie world”. People who’ve read the book don’t always go see the movie. I’m sure movie-goers who’ve never picked up a Lee Child book will find it a great action film, with Cruise delivering a believable performance. I will wait for it to hit the free HBO or Showtime weekend.
I finished reading the book this morning. Struggling to imagine Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Just didn’t happen. While I understand that 6’5″ actors are in short supply (HA!), they could have at least found someone a little taller, blond-haired and blue-eyed. At this point, I’m not even going to suggest other options. One blogger commented that Cruise is just too much of a pretty boy to be playing Reacher. He’s a fine actor and has an impressive list of credits, he’s just not Reacher.
End of story.