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Everybody with an internet connection knows how testy fans can get when it comes to Hollywood casting the characters they've loved for years. The backlash is usually the loudest when it comes to fanboy-friendly properties such as comic-book movies ("Hugh Jackman is way too tall for Wolverine!"). But while the internet has often quaked from nerd rage over this casting or that, let's not discount just how worked up some folks can get over their favorite book series. Case in point: the casting of Tom Cruise to play Jack Reacher, the hero of Lee Child's novels, in the upcoming One Shot. In an interview with Empire, Cruise tries to calm any irate fans and explain why he wants to play the role.
The fan skepticism is understandable. While I haven't read any of Child's novels, even a cursory bit of research on the Jack Reacher character suggests that Cruise is an odd choice. A former Army MP, Reacher is an imposing figure at 6' 5" and somewhere between 210 and 250 pounds. It's understandable that some fans might question whether Cruise has the physical presence to play Reacher. But the problems don't stop there. In the books, Reacher is a quiet, stoic character...again, a bizarre fit for Cruise, best known for intense, high-energy performances.
Still, Cruise is convinced he can pull it off, and says Child came to the set to watch Cruise perform. Cruise told Empire, "This is Lee's book and Lee's character. Him giving me his blessing is what made me do it." As for the impossible-to-ignore height issue, Cruise says that Child convinced him it wasn't a big deal (so to speak), and that it was "just one element to his character."
Reacher has appeared in 16 books by Child so far. The former military man is a drifter, living off the grid and wandering the country, inevitably running across crimes in need of solving and villains in need of pummeling. Cruise compares Reacher to Dirty Harry or Josey Wales. In One Shot, Reacher gets involved in a series of sniper killings and a man who claims he is wrongly accused.
The big-name talent attached to the movie doesn't stop with Cruise; Christopher McQuarrie (the Oscar wining writer of The Usual Suspects) is directing, from a script by Josh Olson (A History of Violence) and co-stars include Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Werner Herzog, Richard Jenkins and Michael Raymond-James.. One Shot is scheduled to open on February 8th, 2013.