Lee Child: On Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, and Passing the Baton

Tom Cruise, Lee Child, and Rosamund Pike in ‘Jack Reacher’/Image © Paramount Pictures

The Reacher books were a be-careful-what-you-wish-for proposition for Hollywood. At first glance: bestsellers, a popular central character, plenty of action and incident, and plenty of sequel possibility. A no-brainer. But at second glance, there were three problems.

First, casting was going to be difficult. Reacher is designed exclusively for the page, with no concession at all to the real physical world of SAG members.

Second, Hollywood sees story through the prism of character arc. And Reacher has no character arc. He’s the same person at the end of the story as the beginning. The story swirls around him, but he’s an unchanging rock. He learns nothing along the way, because he knew it all to start with.

Third, much of Reacher’s appeal is inside his head. His quirky thought processes, his tastes and enthusiasms, his intuition, his logic, his deductions: All of these are entirely internal, with no obvious way to show them on the screen.

So the fact that the first movie follows the seventeenth book is explained by the long, slow, painstaking piecing together of people who felt a) willing and b) capable of beating those three difficulties. We needed producers who saw value outside of the character-arc trend; we needed a screenwriter good enough to put Reacher’s mind on screen; and we needed an actor good enough to take that script and run with it.

The script was the key component. Producer Don Granger (essentially the godfather of this whole project) artfully told Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie that the project was impossible; McQuarrie reacted in Reacher-like fashion and said, “Well, we’ll see about that,” and turned in quite possibly the best first draft the industry had ever seen. I read it hot off the computer minutes after it was finished and was blown away. A nine-figure budget was greenlit with virtually no notes at all – unheard of.

And McQuarrie’s script brought Tom Cruise to the project. Cruise is a unique blend of two things: On the outside he’s a gigantic movie star and celebrity and tabloid sensation; but on the inside he’s an old-fashioned character actor who starts and finishes with the words, and trusts and values writers more than anything else.

And at that point I knew we had a success on our hands. Cruise and McQuarrie were unbeatable. Others felt the same way. Within days we had a hard core of twenty or so cast and crew, all of them real Reacher fans. The conventional paradigm of inevitable structural conflict between book fans and moviemakers didn’t apply on this project: The moviemakers were book fans. They were obsessed by Reacher and understood him and protected him just as much as any reader would – more so, even.

Which gave me a unique kind of involvement. Legally and formally, as always, I had no say and no veto about anything. But I bet I was kept closer than any book writer has ever been. They called me all the time, they gave me unlimited access to the set, they gave me their phone numbers and e-mail addresses, we had countless drinks and dinners, they dropped everything to show me dailies and rushes and rough cuts. Absolutely not because they wanted input or advice from me – they were completely confident in their own abilities (again, rather Reacher-like) – but because they wanted to celebrate with me … as if to say, See? We’re nailing this, this is working, we’re beating the odds. It was exactly like a hundred Reacher fans getting together and having fun.

Which all culminated in a call I got one day. There’s a scene in the movie where Reacher’s lawyer springs him from a night in jail, and he has to stop by the police station’s front desk to pick up his possessions. As all Reacher fans know, he has only one possession – his folding toothbrush. They said I had to play the sergeant at the front desk. They live in a world of story and symbolism, and they wanted Lee Child to pass the baton – in the form of the toothbrush – to Tom Cruise. The sergeant would have no lines, but he had to shrug, a little quizzically. On one level, it was the sergeant commenting on Reacher’s theories. On another, it was me, looking at Cruise, and saying: He’s doing okay. We filmed it one November afternoon, in Pittsburgh. I loved it.

Would I do it all again? I hope I get the chance.

  • Karen Elliott

    I cannot believe that the role of Jack Reacher has been given to Tom Cruise! That casting decision has ruined any chance that I will watch this movie. In book after book, Reacher is described as a large man which enables him to do some of the things he does in the stories. How in God's name can anyone imagine Tom Cruise as a large man? Is everyone else in the movie REALLY short???

    • Steve

      Those of you not willing to give the movie (and Tom Cruise) a chance are gong to miss out on a great movie. History is full of movies that stray from the book in ways both artistic and literal, yet both can be successful. I saw the advance screening tonight, and thought Cruise did a great job of being a believable Reacher. Suspend your entrenched criticism, and just go enjoy the movie.

    • Jan

      Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher....So wrong, so dreadfully wrong. I'll be staying home with my own big blond not-so-pretty Jack.
      What a shame...I think it's all ruined for me now...

      • Linda

        Agree with your Reacher casting commens. Have read every Reacher book. You picture Reacher - IT IS NOT TOM C. - wow! How did that happen? Terrible! Someone sold out

    • Ted purvis

      I have to agree. This appears to be as sell out. Child has lost me as a customer.

    • JanM

      I saw the movie yesterday and all I can say is save your money. Not only is Tom Cruise NOT Reacher, but, as usual, Hollywood has managed to f-up a good book. Location is changed, characters are changed or left out completely and the take down in the book is much better than the take down in the movie. Worst of all, Reacher DOES NOT run from the cops -- especially in a classic Camero SS with glass packs that can be heard for 5 miles!!!! I'm terribly disappointed that Lee Child has given this movie his blessing. It is so NOT Reacher. I love the Reacher books and continue to read them as long as Mr. Child writes them, but I will never see another Reacher movie.

    • Margo

      As a Reacher fan I nearly fell of my cushioned movie seat when I saw Tom Cruise in the preview. WHAT?? So wrong, so very, very wrong. Big bucks to Mr. Child, big boos to Mr. Child.

    • vlad

      10000000000000% agree. will never watch THIS movie either

    • Doris JOhnson

      Next Reacher should be Dwayne Johnson. He would be perfect and he's tall.

    • I was never a Tom Cruise fan . If you do not watch the (Reacher) movie it will be your loss ! IT WAS GREAT !!!!

    • I totally agree. My husband and I thought James Cavizel would have been really perfect for Reacher. He stars in the series Person of Interest. He soft spoken and very good looking. I think they chose Tom because of box office draw.

    • Gary

      Actually the film isn't bad, and stays quite true storywise to the One Shot book, to the extent that I was able to predict lines. I had to get over the Reacher Cruise thing, and just enjoy the film. Apparently Cruise is a big fan, and had bought the film rights, so probably not a lot Lee child could do, as he says above.

  • Mark

    Had doubts when I read a guy shorter than I was going to play Reacher. The trailer looks good though, and it is encouraging to read Mr. Child's enthusiastic endorsement. The real question is, how does Cruise keep looking so young? Does he have a painting that ages in his attic?

    • Roberta

      Not just shorter than you. Shorter than me!

    • KCwest

      The film character has no resemblance to the book character other than the snappy comebacks. Reacher doesn't drive, is 6'4" (an integral part of his character), rough and beaten up looking, has a deep voice, it goes on and on. This is just a cheap action flick w/ Tom Cruse.

  • patricia kurz

    Okay, more of these interviews, Lee, and I'll open my mind when I see it... yes I will see it. I like this article. Gives me faith, but I bet if there is a new Reacher movie, you won't sign away your rights ever again! 🙂

    • Jennie Edwards

      Don't be too sure about that. I thought I read somewhere that the signing over of film rights to the TC conglomorate of the "Reacher" series is past tense.

      Sorry all I can't watch the movie. TC is not Reacher and never will be.

  • I was also skeptical at first after years of reading Reacher and hearing that Tom Cruise was cast but I'm prepared to remain open-minded in the hope that it doesn't seem to be a Mission Impossible spin off instead of a Reacher movie.

    The article gives a unique insight into the reasons and motivations. The big question is will Cruise play Reacher again or is this a "One Shot" deal? (sorry couldn't resist)

    If so like James Bond we may see a reimagined Reacher with someone perhaps more Reacher rough but cerebral. For my two pennies perhaps Thomas Jane who as Marvel's The Punisher displayed that kind of tough.

    • ymarcus

      Good call on Thomas Jane...what about Gerard Butler. Love the Jack Reacher character and will try to keep an open mind on Cruise.

      • Gerard Butler would have been a great choice.

  • walt

    I'm sorry Mr. Child, but my wife and I have seen the trailers for this film and we just can't buy into the notion of Tom Cruise as Reacher. The snippets we have seen are not compatible with the "character" we've become so familiar with in the books and the huge issue is Cruise's baggage--both personal and professional--which become a deterrent to wanting to fork over good money to see the movie.

  • C.M.

    100% book fan but still don't plan to see the movie.

  • Tommaso

    Well, I suppose you had to be sitting for that scene.

    • Walter Altholz

      As persuasive as the casting challenges may have been, we still got sold out. The reason seems simple, Cruise will assure at least reasonable economic success. How though can Lee Child be smart enough to create Jack Reacher and either so desperate or so arrogant to offend so many of his readers? That's the tough question. I am missing the movie for the same reasons so may have cited, terrible casting and the fear of superimposing Cruise's face (and frame) as I read the rest of the books. Why did you do this, Lee?

  • Tamara

    I have seen the trailers and still feel iffy abut it. I have been reading your books since forever. I heard of you first at the World Horror Con in 1993, there was something in the small press that I read and was intrigued with. By the time "The Killing Floor" hit the streets I was more than ready.

    I am a bit concerned about Cruise playing reacher. His nose has not been broken enough, his fingers are not tough enough, he is too pretty to be reacher, but I will give him a chance and try to put the ideal on the actor. My biggest problem with Cruise, as with Stallone, and several others is that they only know how to play themselves.

    Good luck with this movie. If it works, I hope to see everything else come out in a novel.


    • Dan Downing

      Tamara: Quibble: Reacher's nose has been broken once, two books ago.
      Cruise is an idiot and a shrimp in real life, but then Cary Grant was gay, Jim West of the Wild, Wild West and Dustin Hoffman, among others, were short men who played tall with Hollywood magic tricks. John Wayne was big,but not Clint Walker, and a hero on celluloid only. Plenty of entertainers are terrible human beings: So. Forget what you know, leave it at the box office, go into the dark and accept the movie on its own terms.

    • George Waldman

      Tamara, if you're a fan of the Reacher novels and have read them all, like I have, you already know that Reacher's nose was broken for the first time in his life, EVER, near the end of Worth Dying For. So, don't complain that Tom Cruise's nose hasn't been broken enough.

  • This makes me feel much better than anything else I have read or viewed about the movie.

    I love the character Jack Reacher and I love the writing in the books but have been concerned how that would translate visually on the big screen.

    Tom Cruise as Reacher gives concern because to me part of Reacher's character is defined by his size, especially in how others react to his size, so it's the real test for Cruise to overcome all of that.

  • paula dawson

    please mr childs in future books never ever ever ever describe jack reacher as you have previously done i am an immense fan of yours and reacher but when i read reacher i do not want to see tom cruise my whole idea of a great character has now been dissolved into nothing and will i guess eventually fall by the wayside until you decide to kill your most profitable character off. I understand all the hollywood bull that comes out of there but to destroy the image of so many of your fans has taken its toll on us and no doubt yourself. I wonder if an army of your fans who disagree with your choice of reacher and have told you so many times wonder are we all wrong in our feelings about a character we have all grown to love and saviour every word you write about him. I understand how you will defend everything and that not 1 author has disagreed with you, which makes me think im stupid and thick and wrong in having an opinion on a character i have grown to see as mine. I also wonder why you do all the defending and yet the actor that you say is reacher has not said one word to anyone about it in public about the readers who made you wealthy and will make you wealthier every day.

    I am so sadden to lose the image of a great man (character) and am praying you dont put your reachers image on any of your book.

    And sadly i know my words mean nothing to you or hollywood none of your fans want this man in this role

  • CB

    I'm not a big fan of Cruise and was first miffed he was cast as Reacher. This is the second article where Lee Child is saying it has worked with Cruise, so I'll be watching this movie

    • vlad

      just a money talk. i lost my respect for mr. Child at once.

  • Karojen

    I love Reacher's simplicity and courage. I love Cruise as an actor but I so wanted to see my ideal of Reacher [that I've had for years] on the screen: Dolph Lundgren!! I'm positive that the movie will be very good but I don't want to superimpose Cruise as my Reacher.

    • too bad Dolph Lundgren cant act!

      • vlad

        and Rock is black.

  • Phil

    I have enthusiastically purchased all of your books. This may be an entertaining movie, but if I begin to associate Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher (through this or more Reacher movies) I won't be buying any more JR books.

  • Dan

    How could you allow the Reacher character to be destroyed by this casting disaster? Those two are as similar as day and night.

  • Joe R

    I'm going to see it because I'm curious, but I'm sorry, I just can't get past Cruise as Reacher. I can think of a few actors that could have pulled this role off, and none of them is Tom Cruise.

  • SDenny

    Curious - did the screenplay have to make mention of Reacher's lack of height in this case to make it all work? Having read the books and being a big Reacher fan, the obvious reaction to Cruise being cast was understandable, I hope. But in this case, Cruise is so *short* - and Reacher's character is so clearly defined as the embodiment of physical, non-verbal menace - that I was wondering if the screenplay had to re-make the character in a subtle way for the movie. Did it?

  • Lynda

    I've seen the trailer and it does nothing for me, I actually laughed out loud. Sorry but anyone who has followed the Jack Reacher series will have a hard time taking cruise seriously in this roll.

  • Barbara

    I saw the preview on TV. I still don't like Cruise in the roll. His voice is too lightweight! He's too small. No sandy colored hair. But, I love the books so I'll still see it one day. Maybe not at the movies though.

  • Jennie

    I am still horrified at the casting decision. I hate it so much it literally sets me off everytime I see the trailer. I get that it was out of Lee's hand, but I can not support this. I will not pay to see this movie because, although there are millions of angry comments all over about this issue, the only way to tell the people responsible for this casting that it's not okay, is to not give them a dime for this. I am really dissapointed. If size was not a concern, look at the roles Cruise has done and who he is in real life. With an actor like Cruise you don't just watch him in a role and forget who he is as a person. You show him in a leather jacket and you have him in car chases in this movie... do you not see what is wrong with this? Maybe it is a great film on it's own... but it would ruin Reacher for me. This sucks.

  • Andrea

    After watching the trailer, wil definitely not see the movie. I like Tom Cruise, but - from my perspective - he's not even close to "getting" Jack Reacher. It's a Mission Impossible, Tom!

  • Ann Pettigrew

    I have read all the Jack Reacher books, I just love the character, so does my husband. Reacher is a man's man, but also a woman's man. I am a 61 year old grandmother, but have the hots for Jack Reacher. I haven't seen the movie yet and was so excited when my husband told me about the movie, but so disappointed when I found out that Tom Cruise was to play Reacher. Tom Cruise is a brilliant actor and no doubt will play the part well, but please stick to Lee Child's creation, Jack Reacher is a big rugged man, well over six feet in height, built like a tank, with hands like shovels, in fact he towers over everyone who comes into contact with him. I'm afraid Tom Cruise does not fall into that category, no matter how good an actor he is. I'll reserve further judgement until I've seen the movie, it should be available here in Scotland just after Christmas.

  • Tony Gbegbaje

    I still don't buy it, not Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. Even if he passes as that chap in the impossible missions. Jack is a different kind of person, even Cross will give him respect, but not if its played by someone way down the scale. Jack is in a class by himself, and nothing Lee says will put Tom in Jacks shoes not to talk of his shadow. Impossible sell Lee!

  • Chris

    I continue to say that Cruise is in no way the right person to act as Reacher. You can say whatever you want, but if you call him Reacher, it is going to be a flop !
    If you wanted to do a movie about action with Tom Cruise it would have been ok, but not a Reacher movie.
    Come on, that is ridiculous !

  • Paddy O’Brien

    I have read all Lee Child's books and enjoyed every one but cannot believe tiny Tom Cruise has been cast as Reacher who is 6' 5" ans 220lb. I will not watch this film. What a casting mis-match!!

  • Maryann Mercer

    Just can't do it. Sorry. I can think of several other fine actors who fit the physical description and have portrayed characters who have Reacher's physicality and intelligence as well. Tom Cruise may be talented, but he's not "my" Reacher, so I'll pass on the movie and keep my mental Reacher tall, strong, and tough.

  • Taron

    if they make another, and if they cast someone else, I think Tom hardy would be ideal. he's physically closer to reacher than cruise, also a great actor, and having seen him in warrior, dark knight rises, and lawless think he has the on screen dominance that reacher would command.

  • Bruce mader

    Sorry, I'm not buying it. The Reacher Lee painted in my mind has qualities that little Mr. Ego can't portray. He is too small, too pretty and does in no way stay under the human radar as just another guy. As much as I love the series, I'm not interested in losing the guy in my head by going to see this. The fact is, TC'S bought the rights and the lead.

  • Canadianraptor

    What a lad of twaddle that Lee Child had no control; once he sold the rights to Cruise it was very evident he would play Reacher. He had to know this would happen which is confirmed by his desperate attempts to get Reacher fans onside with Cruise playing Reacher which will never happen. Don't believe me, then read all his blogs on this issue and 99.5% of his readers are totally ticked off with Cruise playing Jack! He may be, in Child's words, a "gigantic star" but he's still way too small to play Reacher! I saw the long trailer on Flixster and Cruise is a joke, his physique is basically a mini-Reacher and he does not look close to the 6'5", 250 lb Reacher! period! Lee has sold out his fans and he will pay for it in future book sales, as most Reacher fans, like myself, are saying that we will never buy a Reacher hard copy or eBook again. I now wait until my Library puts it on it's eBook list and then I queue up for it. I've been waiting six weeks for the latest book, " A Wanted Man" but I don't care and I'll never watch any movie with Cruise as Reacher!

  • Sherrie Williamson

    I adore Lee Child's books. I will see the movie because of Lee Child. However,,, I do not care for tom crusie, plus,,,, he is waaayyy toooo short. How about Liam Neesom .........!!! He would be terrific as Reacher........
    Please keep writing those terrific Reacher books.

  • MizLiz

    Sorry, I don't buy it for a second. Not when the cameraman (in the trailers currently being seen on tv) has to lay on the floor and shoot UPwards to make Cruise look bigger than he is.

    Folks, if you do go to the movie, look for two classic Cruise acting tricks: number one, he always RUNS. Why, I don't know. Two, when the character comes to a crucial decision point or a stressful encounter, he closes his eyes for a couple of seconds. you think I'm kidding? i counted 22 in "The Firm". no way will I waste the money. i will, however, keep buying Reacher books. He lives in my imagination just fine.

  • I'm still not feeling Tom Cruise as Reacher. As so many have said, he's just too short, too skinny, and too pretty. I've read all of Lee Child's books and am mystified at why someone would cast Cruise. The media seems to love him though.

    In my mind, if you were going to deviate from the genetic presentation of the character, pick a physically big action star, like the Rock. Different race, but physical force to be reckoned with, so there's no writing around the "shrimp."

    My other thought is Vince Vaughn. He's 6'5" and I bet if he hit the gym and did some training he could improve his presentation. I mean if Liam Nesson can be an action star pushing 60, Vince could certainly get his game figure on and do well. Most people forget that some of his early roles were bad guys. He didn't become the king of romantic comedy until later. He can give a menacing stare, an elbow crack to the bridge of the nose, and with a 48 hr shadow, could definitely pull off the rugged, toothbrush in the pocket look. Revisit "Domestic Disturbance." He sold the tough guy very well.

  • android009

    While I will still watch the movie, I hope Tom Cruise does not do another one, he is simply not Reacher. It may be hard to find actors to play him but they are out there and nothing against Mr. Cruise a few quite better suited for the part who could pull it off. My thoughts would be someone like Ron Perlman aka "Hellboy" or Hugh Jackman aka "Wolverine". To me these two could easily personify Reacher not only in physical appearance but also mentally and acting wise there both very talented. I think Lee Childs should have look a bit harder in what really personifies Jack Reacher.

  • Paula Huot

    Well, I haven't seen the trailer and have no intention of seeing the movie. Sorry but casting Tom Cruise as a 6'5" Jack Reacher was outside my realm. I read your article, Lee, but am still unconvinced that Cruise was the right actor to play my favorite character. I am really nervous about seeing the movie for fear, Cruise will remain in my mind, instead of the Jack Reacher I imagine in my mind after reading all the books.

  • Kelsampol

    This is the first article I have read which makes me want to see the movie. Although I doubt I could have resisted, I would most likely have gone to see it with the wrong mindset. I am particularly looking forward to seeing Lee Child in his cameo performance. What an honour that they have included the original writer so much in the making of the film. It is testament to a brilliant writer and shows huge respect. Well done, I think the movie releases in Australia in mid January 2013 and I cant wait.

    • heartland

      Er, to the person who thinks it's a big honor that LC has a cameo part - are you joking? That's a cookie that lots of films do w. authors, and they make sure the author says few lines and doesn't mess things up. Won't be seeing this routine TC Mission Impossible knock-off either, as I thought the gritty fabulous One Shot has been morphed to fit shorty TC. Lee Child is a disingenuous sell-out who has shown a lot of smirking disrespect to the readers who made him rich. And the other Reacher fans I've warned re the casting feel the same disappointment.

  • Doug

    Having the time of your life Lee?
    So well deserved!
    Countless hours have I spent reading and quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, punching the air with my fist, rejoicing in the simple fact that you (and Reacher) got it so right in the book.
    To me, "Collateral" proved Cruise a worthy vessel for Jack Reacher.
    And, in the end, all that really matters is that we grow to love
    the fact that Reacher will always, always.......always, do the right thing.
    Bravo, Lee Child, Bravissimo

  • Daniel

    I understand why you wanted to make a Jack Reacher movie. It's the same reason everyone who knew the character wanted to see a Jack Reacher movie. Surely you can see from the amount of feedback from hardcore Reacher fans, that you have made a terrible mistake. I was angry for years that there was no movie, now I am heartbroken that there is one. I will most certainly not watch this movie but am earnestly hoping that you will remedy this mistake and make one in the future with the right person playing Reacher. Do the right thing Lee. You owe the fans an apology.

  • Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher makes as much sense as Justin Bieber play Conan the Barbarian. I won't watch the film because I'm afraid it will ruin all future Reacher books. This movie will not be succesful.

  • Robin

    This article is one of many I've read trying to explain away the errant casting of the lead character. I cannot get past the horrible miscasting of our Jack Reacher. I will not be spending my $10.00 in support of this movie. I'd much rather put that towards the latest book.

  • Darlene

    This movie does a disservice to Reacher. I saw the trailer and Cruise just doesn't cut it at all. We readers deserved better than the movie studio's excuses given here. We'll continue to be readers longing for the next book before we even finish the one we are reading but we will not support the films with Tom Cruise, ever!

  • Scott

    I get the "person on the inside" but unfortunately your books talk about the person on the outside. I will watch to compare but I am for sure Tom is no Reacher inside or out no possible way.

  • Larry

    I,like all the other commenters here, have read all of your Reacher books. I came to think of Reacher as the embodiment of irresistible force and immovable object. A mighty force of nature! Unfortunately TC just does not fill the bill! Will they provide him with a box to stand on as they did for Allen Ladd? I don't think I'll see the movie, the books have given me so much enjoyment that I don't think I could stand the disappointment of seeing TC as Reacher! Good luck!

  • Keith

    Lets start with wow! come on you talk about how big and tough this guy is in most of the books and then come up with Tom Cruise one of the smallest male actors out there. I will not watch the movie because i think Tom cruise will ruin the other books for me. I hope when i do read other REacher novels i can picture anybody but him , because if i cant i may have to walk away from one of my favorite novels .

  • Ray Oliver

    First, I love all the books. Second, I really enjoy Tom Cruise.
    Third, Do not give a rats hiney who plays Reacher, I just want to see him on the giant screen, and more books please. I am new to Reacher but have read all books this year since June.
    I read a lot late at night.

  • Gary

    I have not seen a Tom Cruise movie in years as I do not like him as a person. I just can not wrap my mind around a short Reacher. The soul of the character is his menacing presence. Cruise is not menacing by any definition.

    Not sure I will see the movie. Do not want Cruise to have any of my money. I picture a "Huey Long" type as Reacher. Not someone shorter than my 14 year old grandson.

  • I have had many conversations with friends who are avid Reacher fans and we all said how wrong Cruise for the part because of his size. Having read Child's response and seeing a trailer, it give me hope for the movie. I can't wait to see it.
    "Size doesn't make the man" I guess we'll just have to wait and see if that's true.

  • pmoyers

    Interesting to get the 'read' on how a book goes from print to screen. I am hoping everyone has great success with this movie and it paves the way for the opportunity to see more of Reacher's exploits get to the big screen.

  • Jackie Duvall

    1st: I love Lee Childs & Jack Reacher.
    2nd: I do not like Tom Cruise. He doesn't fit the Jack Reacher
    profile at all. How did he get picked?!
    3rd: With all my complaining, I can't think of anyone who
    would fit the profile. So, let's hope Tom Cruise pulls a
    rabbit out of his butt, and makes this work!

  • Laura

    Lee, I hope you make a fortune on this movie ... so you can write more Reacher books. So I can understand shilling for it. But I just watched the trailer ... Tom Cruise is not Reacher. Besides being too small and anti-intellectual, too smooth and pretty, Cruise's voice is a several of octaves too high. His tenor does not sounds like sex, masculine power, testoserone. Reacher is a bass ... think James Earl Jones ... the little he says coming from deep in his soul. By comparison, Tom Cruise is a giddy girl in pigtails.

  • Nicki

    I have to say, I am still not convinced. Given everything Lee has said above, I can understand the limitations and difficulties of bringing Reacher to life on the big screen....HOWEVER...unless he was its...and probably id have an input, I can see no sane reason why anybody would cast Tom Cruise. He is simply not Reacher, and to me, to have to alter the character so that he is a realistic departure from what is written in the book series...just to cast Cruise?? Seems to me that they could have cast somebody a LOT closer to the physical characteristics of Reacher... it is Reachers physicality AND his intriguing mind together that make him so appealing....I will see it...out of respect for one of my favourite authors...but I am not expecting the greatness he speaks of above...after all...he is hardly going to come out in promo inteviews like this and trash the movie is he??? pfft...still reserving judgement...but unlikely to be won over...sorry Lee...think you dropped the bundle big time here...better legal people next time I reckon!

    • Nicki

      oops! not sure what went wrong there...the above should read "unless he he was bankrolling some of the movie...and he probably did have an input"

  • Marfay

    Can see Kevin Costner as Reacher!

  • Julie MacKenzie

    I just finished reading A Wanted Man, in which Reacher spends a lot of time driving with below-average skill. The next day I saw the trailer for Reacher, for at least the fifth time, in which he drives a stick shift like a NASCAR pro. Nope. Not the Reacher I know. Hollywood's Reacher maybe. I'll see the movie and hope it's a decent action flick and forget that it's supposed to be Reacher. Better luck next time.

  • Kathy

    Mr. Child, I so appreciate your talent in bringing Reacher to life in your books. But Tom Cruise comes with too much baggage and too much of himself to ever be, "be" Reacher. Never mind the fact that Reacher's whole persona comes from his size and ability to intimidate the bad guys with that his silence and his head butt. What's TC going to do, jump off a box?! I will keep buying the books but never watch TC as Reacher. Reacher deserves better.

  • AnGuan

    Cruise can pull anything off! I will definitely see it.

  • r.glenn

    congrats on getting JR to the big screen..... I will probably wait and save my money in silent protest to Cruise playing the lead. I respect his talent and know he can do the character as well as he did "Collateral".
    However, I can't get past my mind's eye of JR and what he should be visually. So, nix on seeing TC's attempt to portray. I will wait for PayPerView or other.
    Hopefully, the next installment of Reacher will cast a more statue-esque rendition. (Similar to Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan from 'Red October' to 'Patriot Games').
    I suggest maybe Josh Brolin or an unknown with the looks of Howie Long. ...........Just sayin'. Still reading those books!!

  • Carol Breakey

    Let's see if this gets posted!!! I noticed that all the comments from the FACEBOOK page (where I found this) were negative. Out of 149 comments only 5 were positive about seeing this movie with Tommy Boy playing Reacher!!! I will not see the movie. I have read all 17 of the Reacher books and will read any others that Lee Child writes. That's why I won't see the movie. LOVE REACHER!!!! Chris Hemsworth should have played Reacher. Looks like Vince Flynn wanted him for his Mitch Rapp character. Oh well!!!!

    • Carol Breakey

      Looking at Facebook this morning,,,,,,,,,200 comments were made with 9 being that they were going to see the movie. Lee does this ring a bell for you?

  • Joyce Waters


  • I really think you would have been better off picking an unknown actor. I won't see Cruise in the theater. I may check it out from Netflix. He just seems so wrong. so wrong. good luck to you all and I certainly look forward to the next Reacher book.Even when I think more about it, when I read Reacher I don't want to envision Tom Cruise in my head.

  • Barb Mullen

    Love Jack Reacher - but alas in my experience the book is always better than the movie! Except maybe Silence of the Lambs. But am keeping an open mind and also like Tom Cruise- but hard to see him as Reacher. But will go see the movie with an open mind. Have shared Reacher with many. Girls night to the movies?


    Sorry, not buying it. Serious casting error in Tom Cruise. Love you, Lee, love Jack Reacher, giving this one a miss for sure.

  • Carolyn Hirsh

    OK Lee. I was adamantly opposed to Cruise as Reacher. Basically I still am. I guess my main bias against Cruise is not his height but his 'religion'. Can't stand the scientology cult! However your article makes sense in terms of actually trying to turn one of your books into a movie. They are different species. We're not going to 'see' a Reacher (Lee Child) book but an adventure movie. I guess I'll have to see it if you're in it. Well sold.

  • Sharon McIntosh

    It concerns me that Cruise is even shorter that Rosamund Pike. Don't stand up Lee you will tower over him. I won't be seeing the movie. In fact, the vision of Cruise as Reacher has spoilt my reading of the books now. Sorry.

  • Andy Ward

    I'm sorry, but for me and the multitude of Jack Reacher fans outside of the USA, casting a scrum half to play the role of a second row forward cannot possibly work. See images of Lawrence Dallaglio for example - French heritage, possibly related or maybe Jack himself moonlighting.

  • Susan McNamara

    Mr. Child, I am very happy that you are pleased with Tom Cruise filling the bill as Jack Reacher. I am disappointed in the choice of Cruise as Reacher. No matter how great you feel about his portrayal of your iconic character, I don't see it, don't feel it, and don't care for
    Tom Cruise, period. I love your books, and will not stop reading them. I will never see a Reacher movie if Tom Cruise stars.

    Write on!

  • I have read ALL of Lee Child books and I fell in love with Reacher during book #1., but I just can't go see Tom play a person like Reacher because of height. Don't get me wrong I like Tom Cruise in movies, but NOT Reacher.
    I wish you loads of luck with the movie.

  • rikki Doxx

    No way will I see this movie. I've read every one of Lee's books. I have Reacher's image so implanted in my mind whenever I read Lee's books. I've re-read several of the Reacher books. When the trailer comes on TV, I leave the room. OTOH, I can see TC as the shooter but absolutely, definitely not in the role as Reacher.

  • Lance Kara

    There is no chance that Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher. There are many better actors far more suited to the character. Maybe if I had got 5 million I would think differently. Seventeen books have built the persona of Reacher and if an actor cannot be found then don't make the film. It is the fans who have purchased and read 17 novels that have allowed Reacher to become the giant that his character portrays and if you read the comments they don't seem to be too happy. I wont even watch the movie if it comes on tv, I hope that Reacher is not tainted by the inadequate machinations of the diminutive actor.

  • Andrea Farley

    The character arc, as you refer to in your comments, I believe it comes from the interaction between Reacher and the other important members of the plot. "Reacher has no character arc. He’s the same person at the end of the story as the beginning. " As a movie fan, pretending that I have not read all of the Reacher books, his character arc is revealed through the interactions with the other characters. At the beginning of the movie, he is an unknown to all of the other characters. Readers can "know" Jack Reacher, but the actor has to show that character and the plot moves along.
    I cant wait for a filming of The Affair.

  • jeff todd

    I will not be seeing this Movie. I have read and enjoyed every Reacher Novel but will not see Tom Cruise ruin my mental picture of what the Man should look like. Hands the size of dinner plates and well over 6 ft. tall. How can any of you actually think that Tom can step into those Shoes?? How about getting Justin Beiber to play him in the next movie, it would be about as beleiveable.

  • Patty Lazz

    Why on earth does every comment on this page sound about the same? This article hasn't changed my mind, or make me want to see the movie. I cannot pretend that Cruise is Reacher -I must be limited, as it seems all others here can.
    6'5 250lbs of muscle & brawn. Besides why should I have to ignore or pretend anything about one of my favorite characters? I've been a Reacher fan since day one, and I feel shorted. I saw previews and the one where he's in a store and tells the clerk he could go in the back if an ambulance cracked me up! He is not very intimidating.
    If this horror show repeats itself, I hope someone does the right thing. Pick the right actor -Ray Stevenson perhaps? I'm just going to keep my head down, ignore the whole situation and hope I can read/look at Reacher the same as before this fiasco.

  • Guest 6320

    I''m horrified Tom Cruise was cast as Reacher. I love the books, will not go see the movie. If they decided to do another and get smart by getting another actor I'd recommend Brett Cullen. Not real well known but he is the Jack Reacher in my head when I'm reading them. BTW he's also 6'2"!

  • Never will I ever accept Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher.

  • Ed Bobb

    I'm a big fan of Reacher and have read all of your books. I've also seen a number of Tom Cruise movies, good and bad. He is not a character actor. He's Tom Cruise. The idea of him using his 5'7" physique to overpower bad guys is ridiculous. He's great as a technology savvy, physically talented operative who acts like Tom Cruise. Reacher he ain't! The Reacher in your books would leave him whimpering like a little kid! Best of luck with the movie but I'm disappointed with the casting.

  • Susan MacArthur

    Very disappointed that Hollywood chose Tom Cruise to play Jack Reacher. I don't care if Mr. Cruise is the BEST character actor and loves great writing or not. In not one book that you have written and described Jack Reacher does he have any similar characteristics to Mr. Cruise. This is Hollywood using a big name to secure financing or whatever, rather than look for the right actor to physically fit the part of Reacher as Mr. Child has so often described and we, as his readers, have so often mentally visualized. Very saddened by this. Mr. Child your endorsement of this movie and Mr. Cruise, in particular, as the person to play Reacher is sad, very sad. You are officially a sell-out in my book.

  • Ody

    Look at the photo above, the girl is taller than "cruiseReacher".
    nuff said.

  • Jason D

    Seriously? Most of us can agree that Tom Cruise is a fine actor with plenty of ability to play the action hero. That being said I am still struggling with the whole concept of him playing Jack Reacher. He has to be a foot shorter and a hundred pounds lighter that what most of us would have pictured based on the novels. That being said I am a huge fan of the Reacher series and I can't get enough. I hope the people involved in the making of this movie prove me wrong and that it succeeds regardless of the casting. Either way I can' t wait for the next book and will be one of the first to pick it off the bookstore shelf.

  • walt

    When it comes to playing Reacher, Cruise is a poor choice. I have seen too many Cruise movies And read the Reacher novels. I can only see Cruise as A boy in man clothes here. No way he fits. A big disappointment! I will be staying home reading.

  • Michael Zadrozny

    I personally think GUY Pearce would have been a great Reacher. His Character in LockOut is very Reacher like. Defiant, Quirky humor and pretty bad ass. TOM Cruise not so much but hey, I can understand how if you want to play in hollywood you have to do what they want. I love the books and have read everyone since I found Reacher. SO out of respect for Jack, and in hopes you get some royalities from all of this which will allow you to write more Reacher novels I will go see the movie.

  • Chris Boettcher

    New reader of Reacher. (ran out of Coben and Connelly)
    Anticipate reading the movie no matter who plays him. It is about the story and the character. Face it, without Cruise's name and influence it would not have the budget or screenplay quality. Besides I will always picture a Reacher that looks a lot like Chris Boettcher!

  • george mccormick

    You can use all the Hollywood-speak that you want to defend this travesty,but for this longtime fan, Jack Reacher is ruined.If you publish more Reacher books, all I will see will be Little Tommy jumping on Oprah's couch .I'm done.

    Shame, Shame SHAME.......

  • J. E. Marine

    Casting Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher is on a par with having Mickey Rooney play Wilt Chamberlain in a basketball movie. I'll read the books but, won't be seeing the movie.

  • F W DiNuzzio

    Tom Cruise/Jack Recher? NFW

  • Mary Pat Flanagan

    I am sick about this entire fiasco... I spoke to a man next to me on a plane who told me that TC bought the rights to the books in order to snare the part - what a JOKE that this tiny man could play JR - remember Clint Walker?? Now THERE would have been the right guy... Shame....

  • MizLiz

    There is no way in this world I'd go to see Tom Cruise. If he'd make movies that don't rely on physical stature, he'd be better off. he was quite good in "Collateral" because there was no trick photography, no fantasy scenes where he's tossing around men twice his size....and he even managed to control himself and not resort to his favorite little acting trick: Character comes to a crucial decision closes his eyes for a couple of seconds...just long enough to let you know he's really agonizing...and i find myself counting eye-closes. 22 in "The Firm". Go ahead, try any movie.

    That being said, when i think of jack Reacher I will visualize Howie Long. 6'5" , 268 pounds of gorgeous-but-not-pretty he-man.

    Cruise...go to a Scientology session, or something.

  • MizLiz

    $5 million? That's how much Lee Child sold out for? Hasn't he made at least that much in book royalties? I think he's going to regret this move. I saw in one film clip he said he was "contractually obligated" to talk up this movie.

    Well, I guess so, but it's not convincing any of us.

  • Rob

    Cruise is a ridiculous choice. Any tall unknown would be better. A "tall actor" search on Google produced many far better options and other Reacher fans lamenting this choice. Let me guess, Cruise will wear a watch and dislike coffee? I'll spend 3 bucks to watch the video, maybe. Keaton as Batman made more sense.

  • Richard Kennedy

    While Tom Cruise 'might' be an okay actor, he's simply not cut out to play the role of Jack Reacher by any stretch of the imagination.

    To me this is nothing more than a Hollywood sell-out.

  • Cruise as Reacher? You've got to be kidding!
    I think TC et al jumped the shark on this one.
    Did you even think about Timothy Olyphant?

  • Robert Provence

    I've read every Jack Reacher novel so date. Absolutely one of my favorite characters, but not only will I not spend money on the movie...I won't even what it eventually on TNT, HBO, Pay-per-View, DVD if and when available. Why? Tom Cruise is not even a remotely believable choice for playing this very unique character.

  • Claudette C. Smith

    Does anyone recall how tall Paul Newman was? About 5'6". Played bigger than life? Yep. Tom Cruise does, too, whether you like him or not.

    I personally would have voted for that Aussie guy who did "A Beautiful Mind" AND "Gladiator".

    Come on, guys -- entertainment, be it stage or screen, involves a little something called "suspension of disbelief". You really think that's lions and tigers on the stage in "Cats"?

    I'm no Tom Cruise fan. I am a Lee Child fan, and a Jack Reacher fan. Far as I'm concerned, that'll be JACK on the screen. I have not been to the theatre to see a movie since 1995 -- but I can't wait to go see this one.

  • Donna Viverito

    I can not believe that the casting directory gave this part to Tom Cruise !!
    If you read the books, And I have read all of them.
    Jack Reacher is 6.5 and weighing in at 250 Lbs.
    Tom Cruise is what maybe 5,6 Not 6.5 ???
    No where's near 250 Pounds.
    What on earth is wrong with this picture.
    Tom Cruise is a pretty boy.
    Jack Reacher is so far from being a pretty boy.
    Come on do you think that we are all stupid ??
    I love the books, Just can't stand the though that the image will be ruined.....

  • Alan Low

    I'm not knocking Tom Cruise. I think he's a great actor but even he can't act one foot taller than he really is.

    Might as well of given the role to Warwick Davis (another fine actor) and been done with it.

    I love the books but TC in the film has ruined it for me.

  • Seymour

    Giant Reacher fan here and like all of you I was not on the Cruise train. But I wasn't such an ass as to completely shut down the idea of the movie like some spoiled child. And I'm glad I didn't because the movie is fantastic! Other than his size they nailed the character. It's very faithful to the character and the book. I hope they make more movies. So get over yourselves, give the movie a chance and you might just be surprised.

  • L. Starr

    I was really rooting for Cruise…I knew he was pitching way against type…but Jack Reacher was a total miss for me.

  • Carolyn McCabe

    Tom Cruise is NO Jack Reacher. Lee, how could you? There are so many other very good actors that would have fit the part. A great disapointment.

  • TLC

    Saw the movie this weekend, and Tom Cruise is NOT Reacher. Period. This movie was just another Mission Impossible only without the cool gadgets. Love the books, but won't waste my money on the movies ever again.

  • jerry nelson

    will not see the movie,hollywood could distroy an anvil with a rubber hammer. I will keep reacher the way i have always believed him to be in the books.

  • Elizabeth Smith

    Jack Reacher Tom cruise-NOT!

  • bruce l

    I hope you had no say in the casting of Reacher, however its beyond me how you could let it go forward. You were paid and could have negotiated it. Cruise was great in the Mission films, but his 5 foot 7 cannot measure up to the Reacher 6 foot 5 - 250 pound image you portray in all your novels and all your readers visualize in our imaginations. Cruise may be a good actor with a lot of charisma but you blew it for your readers in expecting us to believe this as a fit.

  • mike Ralls

    I will watch the movie,maybe with a little skeptisism.But I think it will be entertaining still.Afterall everyone said,Michael Keaton as Batman? But he did a credible Job thru two movies.George Clooney was the one who fit the bill best for the image of Bruce Wayne,yet caught the most flack for his portrayal of the Batman in the movie! So give it a chance,It just could be a good flick!

  • FAXoo7

    I imagine the only way to resolve the issue is at the Boxoffice. Financially successful? Probably.
    Believable? Probably.
    Tomcats' arrogance? Absolute.
    Trilogy. Unlikely.

  • chisomo jericho nsangwe

    I am in south africa so this movie just came out .I hav read all 17 books and I havE to say.Mr child it took you so many years to gain the readers respect but it took a 30 second trailer to lose them
    time try DOLPH LUNGREN

  • dilwyn555

    I've never read Lee Childs books of Jack Reacher. I went to see the film having read a preview which didn't mention Tom Cruise was in it. Discovered on the title credits that Tom Cruise was the Executive Director - so I figured he had bought the lead part... it was (in my opinion) a brilliant film. I will now read Lee Childs version. I still think Tom Cruise bought the lead part (as he'd never get casted as a 6' 5" ugly geezer being a tad shorter) - but I also think he's got brilliant taste. I know my opinions a but at odds here, but I think there will be a trilogy.

  • Roy Dorantes

    Goodbye, Jack Reacher, it was nice knowing you. If your creator, Lee Child, cannot be true to you, sorry, I cannot either. I will do one thing for you, Jack, and that is NOT SEE THE MOVIE, so that at least I will remember you as in the books. What a sellout Mr. Child did, so unfortunate, so wrong, so terribly wrong. At least Anne Rice voiced her complaint when tiny Tom was cast as Lestat; that showed a bit of courage and character there. Goodbye, Reacher. I will not buy another book.

  • Dear Mr. Child, I, like so many others have been faithful to you and Jack Reacher since the Killing Floor. A brilliant book as are all the others.

    However, like all the comments above, I can't find myself enjoying Reacher in the same way. He's big, he's nasty and he's ready to kick ass in every book. Dwayne Johnson IS Reacher. Everyone is saying "No" to this because he's black. Well he may be black but hes not extremely dark, he's what I would expect Reacher to look like because he's walking all the time, always out on the road.

    Please reconsider this horrendous mistake giving Tom Cruise the role of Reacher. It's the same thing that infuriated Ann Rice when she found out he was picked to play her head vampire.

    Not good!

  • I will never watch this joke of a movie.....not on video.....not on the movie channels, or when it makes its way to national television. What an absolute travesty to have Tom Cruise playing Jack the books, but can't stand a sellout....

  • Mark A

    I was reading a paperback edition of Die Trying and noticed what looks like a minor error that slipped through. The books I've read so far have been quite free of typos, something I'm good at noticing. Somehow I found this one but have no way to contact the author. Die Trying, chapter 34, page 370 about a page before the end of the chapter. ["I saw you shooting," Reacher said. "I spotted it A thousand yards."] I believe 'Reacher' should have been 'Ray'.

  • patriciasicilia

    I'm sorry, Lee, not buying Cruise as Reacher, no matter how much you try to justify it. We all love you, but really, how could you allow this travesty? I hope the next time a Reacher movie is made, a proper actor is chosen. Cruise is just not, and never will be, Jack Reacher.

  • mark

    six foot five, two hundred and fifty pounds! In what universe, galaxy or solar sy

  • tracey stevens

    Josh Dumahl as Jack Reacher...plays a great soldier and is Reachers height and body style

  • Reg

    The movie was okay but after reading all the jack reacher books it still bothers me that they didn't cast somebody of the size of man reacher is described as if I had to or was allowed to pick I think dolph lundgren would've fit the bill best!!!!!

    • Reg


  • I was stunned when I read that Tom Cruise was going to play Jack Reacher. I've read all the books and loved them. I can recite every part of the character. I was upset when reading one of the books in which Jack Reacher looked at his watch. Who wrote that?
    The idea of Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher is laughable to me. Jack Reacher is a tall guy. Tom Cruise is a short guy. I saw one trailer and laughed. Cruise, standing on the sidewalk looking up at two or three men. That does not happen in Jack Reacher stories.
    Sorry Mr. Child. I'd have loved to see any Jack Reacher movies but I cannot bring myself to watch Tom Cruise play him.

  • JE Buckingham

    @Lee Child. With Tom Cruise as Reacher I strongly feel that you sold out. If anything, his physiognomy is the LEAST like Reacher that you could have found. In addition, Cruise's history of histrionics is completely counter to the personality that we all know as Jack Reacher. I am glad that you, as the author, are happy with the choice. Perhaps you were lured by the intoxication of Hollywood to have given OUR Jack Reacher away to a male version of bimbo. At least you are pleased. Neither I nor any other Reacher fans with whom I have spoken are and, sadly, these films are way down on our "must -see" lists. Might as well wait until it comes out on video: small screen for a small man impersonating a character who used to be a giant. What a wasted opportunity for you. And what a pity for us.
    PS I fully realized that Lee Child will never read this or, if he were ever to read it, he cartainly would not care. After all, he has his nine-figure deal set in stone. Why should he care two bits about a person who used to be an avid fan? That all is just fine. I really simply needed to have voiced my - as well as many others' - opinion on what we all see as the travesty of shrinking the great Jack Reacher down to the size of any other mediocre dime-novel so-called hero.