On the Pittsburgh set of the movie version of Lee Child’s book, One Shot, (Delacorte, 2005), Tom Cruise practiced some extreme driving. Celebrity news sites are noting that he’s also cut his hair for the role as Jack Reacher.
Reacher fans have been unhappy about the choice of Cruise, complaining that he is too short (by about ten inches) and too handsome for the role. Lee Child again defends the choice in an interview with the British film magazine, Empire, out this week, saying, “the movie is not going to match the book anyway. If you look at what [screenwriter/director Christopher] McQuarrie and Cruise have done before [McQuarrie wrote the screenplay for Valkyrie, in which Cruise starred], I think this Reacher will be more clinical – the scalpel rather than the sledgehammer. What people forget is that Tom Cruise is quite possibly the best actor of his generation.”
Unlike height, however, talent is debatable.
The movie is scheduled for release in early 2013. The most recent Reacher novel, The Affair (Delacorte/RH; RH Audio and Books on Tape; RH Large type) came out last week and is currently at #13 on Amazon sales rankings.
In an interview in the Daily Mail, Child says that he never expected the books to be popular with women, but “Women are fanatically keen on the series, and I’ve spent 15 years trying to find out why…it may be that the lack of commitment, the walking away from relationships is just as much a female fantasy as a male one, perhaps more so. Reacher is the kind of man women might like to have walk up to their door and stay a couple of days, and then leave. Also, Reacher likes and respects women, and that comes through. He doesn’t patronize them. There’s no hint of sexism.”
But the real reason may be that he writes strong female characters, “I don’t see why they should always be the bimbo who twists her ankle and needs rescuing. I write women as strong creatures every bit as competent as Reacher, and sometimes more so.”
As Janet Maslin notes in her NYT review of The Affair, the title refers Reacher’s relationship with a beautiful sheriff, who “acts just like a she-Reacher; she can match him quip for quip, leap for leap, burger for burger. Whether motivated by creative fervor or commercial instinct, Mr. Child has at long last given Reacher sex scenes, but they are stealthily funny: Reacher’s idea of sex, like his idea of everything else, is filled with precise calculation.