2022’s Reacher, starring Alan Ritchson, was much more in line with the source material than its big-screen counterpart, which debuted in 2012 and was meant to be a franchise starter. However, after the second movie, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back hit the theatres in 2016, it didn’t live up to the expectations and earned $56M less than its predecessor.
However, with the 2022 TV Show, the creators wanted to stick as close to Lee Child’s original novels as possible. Keen on avoiding the criticism that Tom Cruise’s portrayal received, the studio was intent on casting the right actor. However, their fixation on getting the perfect man for the job resulted in Ritchson losing the role initially for being 2 inches too short.
Alan Ritchson Was Initially Rejected for Missing Jack Reacher’s Description by 2 Inches
While Tom Cruise hasn’t backed away from putting his acting prowess to the forefront whenever the script demanded, Jack Reacher was one of his rare mishaps. Although the Top Gun Star did well with the material he was given, fans weren’t too pleased about the distinction. However, for the Amazon series, the creators were fixated on sticking true to the source, which even caused them to reject Alan Ritchson for being 6.3 feet tall. Alan Ritchson told Michael Rosenbaum:
“You know, I was passed on the first time. I think I mentioned to you that I was passed on in the very beginning of the process, like everybody was, and I think that was because I’m 6’3. Reacher’s 6’5. I think they’re trying to, you know, everybody’s trying to get a super authentic version of Reacher on screen.”
But the Fast X Star wasn’t ready to budge from missing out on playing Reacher for being 2 inches shorter and after months of convincing, he’d eventually bag the part that propelled his career.
Lee Child Vigorously Defended Tom Cruise’s Casting
Although fans of Lee Child’s work found Tom Cruise’ casting strange, the author did come to his defense, stating that the casting of the MI Star was meant to play off Cruise’s movie-star persona. Lee Child further said viewers unfamiliar with the books wouldn’t care about the distinction. And while fans of Jack Reacher might find it a little odd, he claimed they would buy into it after the first “two or three minutes” following the MI Star’s performance. He told The Washington Post:
“If you do know Reacher, for the first two or three minutes you’re going to think, ‘This is weird.’ But after the first two or three minutes, you buy into it, it sucks you in, and he convinces you.”
But while the movies didn’t pull off the results that the author would be hoping for, the new adaptation certainly matched his expectations, as Child commended Alan Ritchson. Even though he was a vigorous defender of Cruise’s casting, he expressed Alan Ritchson’s size played a major part in the narrative, as Reacher is meant to scare people, which the Fast X Star succeeds in doing.
Reacher is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.