Lee Child on whether Tom Cruise or Alan Ritchson make the perfect Jack Reacher | Web Series - Hindustan Times

Interview: Lee Child reveals whether Tom Cruise or Alan Ritchson make the perfect Jack Reacher

Dec 12, 2023 01:01 PM IST

Lee Child speaks to Hindustan Times about the new iteration of his Jack Reacher character on Prime Video and if Alan Ritchson is the right guy for the role.

December is the season for hot cocoa and plum cakes, and a new season of Reacher to binge is the perfect Christmas gift for fans. Lee Child’s retired yet fierce military police investigator Jack Reacher is back, and lands right into a shady conspiracy. Reacher Season 1 was based on Child’s first novel, Killing Floor, while Season 2 adapted his 11th book Bad Luck & Trouble.

Lee Child is the man behind the hit Jack Reacher series of books.
Lee Child is the man behind the hit Jack Reacher series of books.

Jack Reacher was cinematically reprised by Hollywood heartthrob Tom Cruise in the 2012 and 2016 film Jack Reacher while actor Alan Ritchson headlines Prime Video’s Reacher franchise. So which one of these actors makes the perfect Reacher, we asked author Lee Child, who is also an executive producer on the series, as he sat down for an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times.

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“The key difference between the movie and the television is the running time. We have so much time to tell the story, it also means that the actor is on the screen for that much longer. Alan Ritchson auditioned via Zoom, which felt weird, except actually, it was a great way to do it since that is all the viewer is ever going to see the actor on the screen and we were judging on the same basis. I wanted an actor who would step on the screen and just own it and command it and be Reacher without doing anything or saying anything, Alan Ritchson was that person, straightaway he's very comfortable with not talking which is perfect for Reacher, but very rare for actors and he was very cool with that. Tom Cruise is a great actor, and he had the internal part of Reacher which was good. But physicality is important to Reacher since he is a huge-looking and scary man, so when he steps into the room, everybody's a little nervous. And I thought that Alan commanded that much better on the screen.”

Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher.
Alan Ritchson as Jack Reacher.

So does he feel possessive as an author when his character is adapted on screen? Lee Child begs to differ. “The possessive thing is, you should never feel like that. The whole point of writing a book is to let go of the character, because well before you've ever thought about a movie or television you've got readers and the reader owns the character by that point, Reacher belongs to the reader. The ownership migrates outward from the author to the reader so you get very used to other people owning the character and having an opinion.”

Lee Grant, who took on the pen name Lee Child, started developing the character in 1997, a year after he lost his job as a broadcasting producer in a television company. “I was a little worried at first I thought is anybody going to like this man because you know he's homeless, never changes his clothes, he was a strange proposition, but am glad he is turned into some sort of a legend.”

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in the film adaptation of the books.
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher in the film adaptation of the books.

With 27 books to his credit already, is Lee Child game for another 24 seasons on air? “Well, from my point of view, I hope that we do a season every couple of years. As long as the viewer is happy then we would love to supply season after season. The hard thing is which book, you know which story is going to be good when it comes out next year”, he says with a smile.

Reacher Season 2, premieres on Prime Video on December 15.

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