Tom Cruise is arguably the biggest movie star in the world, but he’s definitely not the biggest, if you know what I mean. Standing at a very average 1.7m (5ft5) tall and weighing around 77kg (170 pounds) when wet, he’s an actor whose massive screen presence luckily makes up for his lack of physical dimensions. That wasn’t enough for longtime fans of Jack Reacher though, when Cruise was cast to bring Lee Child’s hulking literary hero to screen in 2012. While the Christopher McQuarrie-directed movie was pretty great (the less said about its bland sequel the better though), it still left fans wanting a more accurate depiction of Reacher… and now they’re getting it.
Deadline broke the news this weekend past that Alan Ritchson has been cast to play Jack Reacher in Amazon Prime’s upcoming TV series adaptation of Child’s novel series. In that series, Reacher is described as 6ft5 and weighing between 210 and 250 pounds. The physically gifted Ritchson, who is current playing DC Comics superhero Hawk/Hank Hall on Titans, nearly matches that description perfectly standing at 6ft4 (1.94m) and weighing a muscular 255 pounds (106kg).
Before taking on the role of the troubled Hawk (which he will continue to play while filming Jack Reacher), Ritchson broke out playing the lead role of university American football star Thad Castle in cult favourite sitcom Blue Mountain State and its feature film follow-up Blue Mountain State: The Rise of Thadland. He had also flirted with DC Comics superheroics early in his career playing Aquaman on Smallville, and he portrayed (via mo-cap) Raphael in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles big-screen reboot and its 2016 sequel. He also recently reteamed with his TMNT co-star Megan Fox for the romantic thriller Above the Shadows in which he played an MMA fighter.
As for his new character, Jack Reacher, he’s been the lead of two dozen of Child’s novels with a 25th novel, The Sentinel, releasing next month. He’s also featured in 15 short stories and novellas. All in all, Child’s creation is a billion dollar franchise that has sold over 100 million copies all over the world. That’s exactly the type of literary franchise Amazon is looking to adapt, having done exactly the same with Tom Clancy’s hugely popular Jack Ryan series to great success on screen. And the guy behind that success, Jack Ryan showrunner Nick Santora, will also be the one in charge here, adapting the first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor, for the series. In that 1997 novel, audiences were first introduced to the surly ex-US Army Veteran who roams the United States (by bus, as he famously never drives, especially not like Tom Cruise did in the movies) doing odd jobs as he looks into and gets caught up in several dangerous local situations.
Christopher McQuarrie is actually co-producing the series alongside Don Granger and Scott Sullivan, while David Ellison and Dana Goldberg will executive produce for Skydance TV, which Child signed an overall deal with. Before Amazon won out bidding war to produce the show, Child, who will act as a producer as well, said this about why they decided to reboot the franchise.
I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He’s a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun. But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is…So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead we’re going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long-form streaming television, with a completely new actor. We’re rebooting and starting over and we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.
Hopefully, they’ve now found that perfect guy in Ritchson. There’s no word yet on when production will start as its still early days.
Last Updated: September 6, 2020