Tom Cruise is stuck in a disturbing cycle. The 52-year-old mega-star has been making very good films that are going largely unseen by the world’s audiences. We pointed out that his summer blockbuster Edge of Tomorrow was overlooked at the box office window. And Cruise’s Jack Reacher, an adaptation of one of Lee Child’s best-selling novels, was ignored despite terrific reviews. Thankfully, Cruise is going to get another crack at Jack Reacher, but only after a few key changes have been implemented in the burgeoning franchise.
During an interview with Empire, Lee Child explains that there will be a new director at the helm of the second Jack Reacher movie, because original helmer Christopher McQuarrie will be tied up with a different Tom Cruise sequel. He says:
McQuarrie is going to be in post-production on Mission: Impossible 5. He just physically can’t do it. It’s going to be a new backroom crew, which I think is good. I thought the McQuarrie movie was fantastic, but let’s see someone else’s take on it."
I’d agree, so long as we know who the replacement is going to be. Jack Reacher worked very well because Christopher McQuarrie knows his way around a two-fisted action thriller. If you tell me Jack Reacher 2 is landing in the lap of Brett Ratner, I’m going to be a little concerned. Because McQuarrie was able to bring this to the table, and fans want more of it.
Lee Child went on to explain that Jack Reacher 2 plans to adapt the Reacher novel Never Go Back, despite the fact that it is the 18th book in the long-running series, and there are plenty of worthy standalone stories from which to pluck a Jack Reacher narrative. In this story, the wandering Reacher attempts to connect with a female military investigator and ends up paired with the teenaged Samantha Dayton – who might be Reacher’s daughter. Child explains that the story has all of the elements for a successful film, which helped the studio make its decision:
"It’s almost a three-hander in terms of audience appeal – you’ve got Reacher, you’ve got the woman sidekick (Major Susan Turner), and then you’ve got this strong teenage girl character which they were very interested in."
I might have gone with Gone Tomorrow, a tense and tight-knit story set in Manhattan that finds Reacher investigating a suicide on a subway. But really, all of the Lee Child stories are top notch, and the news that Tom Cruise is getting a chance to continue with Jack Reacher 2 is welcome. Audiences tend to accept Cruise when he is in sequel mode. Perhaps that means the second Jack Reacher can outgross the $80 million its predecessor earned domestically. How could it not?