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Reacher’s Willa Fitzgerald Pitched The Coolest Beer-Bottle Stunt After Alan Ritchson Improvised In A Bar Scene

It takes a special type of supporting character to deal with Jack Reacher’s bullshit. The powerhouse lead investigator of the well-reviewed Lee Child crime series doesn’t suffer fools. And when he determines that you aren’t on his level, physically or mentally, he’ll quickly dismiss you like a week-old newspaper. So Reacher co-star Willa Fitzgerald knew she had her work cut out for her the moment she was cast opposite the towering Alan Ritchson in the title role, and that led to a macho face-off during a funny bar scene. 

In the popular new Reacher series, which is one of the best shows on Amazon Prime Video, Willa Fitzgerald plays Roscoe, the deputy officer in a relatively small Georgia town who is assigned to keep eyes on Reacher once bodies start stacking up. In an early episode of the series, the two are out at a country bar, and Alan Ritchson improvised a badass move with a beer bottle. Basically, he screws the cap off of a bottle with his muscles. Not one to be outdone, Fitzgerald retaliated, as she tells CinemaBlend:

(Alan) brought that in. He was like, ‘I want to open a beer with my arm.’ And I was like, ‘You’re insane.’ He also fully cut the inside of his arm by the end of that day of shooting. And I was like, ‘Well, if you’re going to do that, then you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to smack it off on the edge of the table.’ Because it wasn’t written like that. I basically pitched it to Nick (Santora), and he was like, ‘That’s great! Do it.’ And so then it just became this sort of like a machismo off between Roscoe and Reacher. And it was a really fun scene to shoot.

Again, this is the moment in Reacher where the Roscoe character proves she’s an equal to Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson), the wandering brute who has arrived in her town and suddenly is helping to investigate a string of murders. The show follows this interaction up with a tender dance for the duo to a Patsy Cline number, because there are layers to these characters we don’t always see in scripted television. 

Also, Willa Fitzgerald let me in on a little secret regarding her bottle-cap stunt. She told CinemaBlend:

They were pre-opened. (Laughs) They don’t let you do that in real life on set. They’re too worried they’re going to have to take you to the emergency room.

Fair point. For its first season, which wisely adapts Lee Child’s first novel Killing Floor, the Amazon Prime Video show Reacher needed Alan Ritchson and Willa Fitzgerald to be on set for almost every scene, and losing them even for a few days would have knocked the show way off schedule. 

We’ll see if Reacher gets an increased budget now that the show has been renewed for season two. If you have a subscription to Amazon Prime Video, you can binge the entire season right now. It’s only eight episodes, and it’s really quite good. If you finished it, read over our ending explanation and then learn which Lee Child book Ritchson wants to use for Season Two. 

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.