EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Author Lee Child on Why 'One Shot' was Chosen to Open the JACK REACHER Film Franchise
Published: December 23, 2012 - 11:52am
From The New York Times bestselling author Lee Child comes one of the most compelling heroes to step from novel to screen - ex-military investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise).
Six shots. Five dead. One heartland city thrown into a state of terror. But within hours the cops have it solved: a slam-dunk case. Except for one thing. The accused man says: You got the wrong guy. Then he says: Get Reacher for me.
And sure enough, ex–military investigator Jack Reacher is coming. He knows this shooter—a trained military sniper who never should have missed a shot. Reacher is certain something is not right—and soon the slam-dunk case explodes. Now Reacher is teamed with a beautiful young defense lawyer, moving closer to the unseen enemy who is pulling the strings. Reacher knows that no two opponents are created equal. This one has come to the heartland from his own kind of hell. And Reacher knows that the only way to take him down is to match his ruthlessness and cunning—and then beat him shot for shot.
Up until it's release this weekend, Jack Reacher has been up againstresistance from longtime fans of the popular series mainly due to the casting of Tom Cruise in the title role. Reacher is a character who as written is blonde/blue-eyed, 6'5 tall, 250 lbs and generally described as a gorilla of a man. Cruise does not fit that description by a long shot, but all involved -- including the character's creator -- believe it works for the betterment of the film.
Author Lee Child has always defended Cruise for the role. As he sees it, Reacher's physicality is "symbolic of an unstoppable force.. Tom brings that to the character in his own way and it works. He's still stoic, and explosive when need be. In every other way he's the same." Audiences seem to agree as Jack Reacher has made a solid take at this weekend's box office and is garnering consistent praise from critics and moviegoers alike.
Originally carrying the title 'One Shot', the same as the book it's story is derived from, Jack Reacher doesn't start at the beginning of the title character's overall storyline like the books 'The Enemy' and 'The Affair' do. Off the cuff these "origin" stories seem like the best candidates for a film introducing your film's protagonist, but Child doesn't think so.
"It's not an origin, he's already developed into who he has to be before the story starts. In the book we're a little over 40 pages in before Reacher makes his appearance, but before then everyone is talking about him. We hear who he is, who he was.. and even when he shows up it's not for the reason you would think. Books do this all the time but it's fairly original for movies I think. It felt like the best way to introduce Reacher to audiences who are learning about him for the first time."
Child also thinks one of the main reasons the film succeeds from a narrative perspective is that it doesn't force the issue of trying to launch a film franchise. "Just like the books, the movie is a complete, self contained story. It would be grand to see more [of the books] adapted but no one went in fully expecting it. Hopefully people like it as much as we do and we take it from there."
Jack Reacher, based on the ninth book in the best selling thriller series by Lee Child is directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who co-wrote the script alongside Josh Olson, and stars Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, Jai Courtney, Robert Duvall and Werner Herzog. The film was released in theaters on December 21st, 2012.