Cruising for the Most Miscast Movie Character

Jack Reacher is a modern knight-errant, a paladin. He is also the main character in a popular series of novels by Lee Child, a 6′ 5″ ex-MP with a highly developed sense of justice and the muscle and brains to back it up.

I am a big fan of the series because of this unique main character, as are several members of my family. So it was with a sense of excitement and anticipation that we noted a new movie trailer with the name Jack Reacher prominently displayed.

Then it was with a sense of utter disbelief and amazement that we watched the camera zeroing in on the actor playing the part of our male leviathan — who is probably not as tall as the not-quite half-dressed female behind him no matter how much they foreground him with the camera. Would you believe . . . Tom Cruise.

Tom Cruise as JACK REACHER????? I don’t think so.

Now don’t get me wrong. Notwithstanding the real life character of Tom Cruise the person, Tom Cruise the actor has earned his accolades (i.e. Minority Report for one). But Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher? To the millions of avid fans who have read Reacher’s development over the years it is absolutely ludicrous. I would say “inconceivable” if some nut case in casting had not somehow conceived of it.

If size didn’t matter to them, why didn’t they go for a real manly short man like Peter Dinklage, who played the dwarf Tyrion Lannister in the HBO series “Game of Thrones”. Except for the height, he looks and sounds the part.

A very astute commenter on the IMDb Board: Jack Reacher (2012) put it this way:

Reacher is a giant, standing at 6′ 5″ tall (1.96m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair. He has very little body fat, and his muscular physique is completely natural (he reveals in Persuader, he has never been an exercise enthusiast.) He is exceptionally strong but is not a good runner. Reacher is strong enough to break a man’s neck with one hand (Bad Luck and Trouble) and kill a villain with a single punch to the head (Running Blind and 61 Hours) or chest (Worth Dying For). In a fight against a 7 foot, 400 lb steroid-using thug (Persuader), Reacher was able to lift his opponent into the air and drop him on his head. Still a huge Tom Cruise fan, but how do they defend this??? (by officialjc )

How do they defend it indeed. But in an interview on BBC the author Lee Child rather lamely defended the choice. He is quoted as saying it would be impossible to find a suitable actor to play the giant Reacher and impossible to recreate the feel of the book on the big screen, but that Cruise has the talent to make an effective Reacher! 

Impossible to find a suitable actor? Just look below.

Jim Caviezel – 6′ 2″ and 190 lbs and looks tough enough to eat nails

But fan after fan of the author’s own brain child has risen up against this weak and ineffective defense, naming actor after actor who could have played the big Jack Reacher, since his size has everything to do with how the character is able to do the things he does. Several actors were named, but the one that caught my attention was Mark Valley, who played the starring role in the TV series “Human Target” (which we watched and enjoyed). But since it WAS good and entertaining it was naturally taken off the air. Mark stands 5′ 10″ (looks taller) and weighs 185. Looks REAL tough.

But Jack Reacher is more than just brawn with military-trained killer instincts. He is a man who has seen too many men in high places destroy the lives of those who were defenseless against them. Jack Reacher grew up a military brat who fought bullies in school yards all over the world. The only thing he’s seen of his own country is from a military post. Now he wants to see the USA, not by car or plane, but on foot; not in a uniform or a business suit, but as a man who buys his necessities as needed from thrift stores. He doesn’t own a car or land or home. He’s a drifter (though he has access to money, he uses it only sparely). He has stepped off the grid of society; a man who has set out to see the real nation he has given his entire life to, and to truly defend those who cannot defend themselves.

Author Lee Child created this unique knight-errant. Now he seems to have abandoned him to script-writers and casting directors with way too much budget. Tom Cruise doesn’t come cheap — but he cheapens the character he plays in Jack Reacher.



9 thoughts on “Cruising for the Most Miscast Movie Character

  1. Tom Cruise can only play one character – Tom Cruise. I enjoy his films and, though I haven’t read these books, I know he can’t actually play this role. He will play Tom Cruise doing very manly things, not Jack Reacher.

    • David,
      How right you are. I’ve loved Tom Cruise in many movies, but he carries them with his own personality. I did think he was extra good in Minority Report, though. Tried to watch Mission Impossible, but couldn’t make it past the first 15 minutes. Just the previews of it alone was enough to tell me it did not have the character and flavor of the TV original. The old TV show may be a tad dated now, but at least the characters went through the motions of THINKING, unlike the little I saw of the movie version. And the movie went way out of bounds in the special effects. More like a cartoon than a movie. I know you are a history buff (I am, too), but if you like a good read you might want to get to know the “real” Jack Reacher.

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    • I see he’s playing in Thor the Dark World as Volstagg. And he looks REAL good. Somebody has GOT to make a real bona fide movie of the Reacher we readers know and love. I still can’t believe Lee Child did that. It was a travesty.


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