Home Entertainment Dwayne Johnson losing out on the lead role of Jack Reacher was the best thing to ever happen to him

Dwayne Johnson losing out on the lead role of Jack Reacher was the best thing to ever happen to him

5 min read

Sometimes failure comes your way but makes your life turn out for the better, which seems to have been the case for Dwayne Johnson. The actor might be one of the biggest drawcards in Hollywood right now with every movie he touches being a massive success, but that wasn’t always the case as he initially struggled to really make a big name for himself in the biz.

One of those career misfires happened around 10 years ago when Johnson failed to land a part playing the role of Jack Reacher. While it perhaps might not be a surprise for many actors when a certain Tom Cruise gets cast ahead of you in a movie, it was all the more surprising considering how the character of Reacher was described in author Lee Child’s popular long-running book series as a muscular giant of a man. That is definitely an apt description of the former WWE superstar Johnson but is essentially the complete opposite of the diminutive Tom Cruise (even though the latter was easily the bigger action star at the time and actually did a fantastic job in the movies all things considered).

Before Cruise had landed the gig though and the film had become a reality, Child had famously said that the movie would never be made because they couldn’t find a good enough actor that matched the character in physical stature.

It was completely impossible to find a physical facsimile of Jack Reacher in Hollywood. There are none—not even remotely close. The people you think are 6-feet-five and 250 pounds are not. Most of them are at least seven or eight inches shorter than the fictional Reacher. It got to the point where people were saying, ‘What about this guy who’s nine inches shorter than Reacher? He’s better than this other guy who’s nine and a half inches shorter than Reacher.

So with him losing what looked like the perfect casting on paper, it was perhaps a bitter pill to swallow for Johnson, but it definitely had a silver lining. The actor revealed in a recent Facebook Q&A session with fans (and discovered by /Film) that this bit of disappointment eventually led him to be cast in Fast Five, which easily turned out to be the bigger action franchise and has since established the wrestling icon as one of the greatest action stars of the 2010s:

In Hollywood, actors are kind of like in-a-box. There are actors that can vie for a particular role because it allows them to have a certain look, skin colour, size, etc. Fortunately, for me, there aren’t a lot of guys at all who look like me. So, all of my roles, from the beginning of my career, I’ve been a lucky son of a bitch that they’ve been created and designed for me — except Jack Reacher.

This was 10 years ago, and I was in a much different place, I recognize that. Tom was the biggest movie star in the world, and I was not. I got the call saying ‘Hey, you didn’t get the role’ Look, I didn’t even know if I had a shot for it, but the people around me at that time made me think that I did. I felt like I did, I felt like ‘Why not me?’

As Johnson continued, he expressed no real regret anymore, because of how it freed him up to create the character of Luke Hobbs, which in turn completely revitalized the flagging Fast & Furious franchise.

I’m positive that the role of Jack Reacher, because it was an established character, an IP that was well known and beloved around the world, that I wouldn’t have had the creative space to do what I wanted with the character. I look back in gratitude that I didn’t get Jack Reacher.

Universe works in funny ways though, as when that door shut on me, another door opened with the opportunity to create a character from scratch that was of my DNA. The one and only bad ass, shit talkin’, gravity and reality defying, always winkin’ and having fun OUTLAW LAWMAN KNOWN AS LUKE HOBBS.

It’s a story that comes across as initially heart-breaking but one that ultimately led to Johnson becoming the biggest action star in the world. And we’ll be seeing a lot more Hobbs as Johnson recently confirmed that a sequel to last year’s Fast & Furious presents: Hobbs and Shaw is in the works and will see him teaming up with Jason Statham for more explosive mayhem.

Last Updated: April 15, 2020

One Comment

  1. MechMachine

    April 15, 2020 at 12:06

    The first Jack Reacher film was actually good. The second one was terrible. I tried it twice and I still can’t get through it. Pity. Cool franchise. Dwayne Johnson is a likable guy. I think he has a great story and is a positive influence. I just hope he stands the test of time. You know, these interchangeable action stars don’t tend to last..


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Check Also

Disney’s Jungle Cruise Review

If you love adventure movies with the same fantasy feel as the Pirates of the Caribbean mo…