Lee Child appears mighty pleased that Reacher chose a larger actor to play his iconic character.
Alan Ritchson plays the titular character in the latest adaptation of Reacher, having previously appeared in projects such as Smallville, Titans, and The Hunger Games.
In the original source material, the former soldier is characterized as 6'5" tall, “extremely tall, extremely broad, long-armed and long-legged” with a “thick” neck and “hands the size of dinner plates.”
Some devoted fans of the books were not happy when Mission: Impossible star Tom Cruise, who is said to be closer to 5'7", was cast as the character in the 2012 film and its 2016 sequel, a subject Child addressed in a recent interview with Metro.co.uk.
Size Does Matter, According to Lee Child
Now that Reacher is streaming on Amazon Prime, Child has spoken up on the series' development and the transition from Cruise to Ritchson. The writer expressed his delight at seeing the on-screen character grow more like his written counterpart:
“I think that the size thing is important to certain parts of the narrative. Reacher has got to scare people and you can do that so much easier with one glance of this huge animal rather than a normal-sized actor.”
Cruise's portrayal of Reacher was formidable in the sense that he could outclass practically anyone in physical battle, but the films frequently depicted him as a scrappy fighter rather than an intimidating force.
According to Child, a big element of the character is the animalistic intensity and brute force offered to him by his gigantic size, which Ritchson brings to the table.
Child did, however, make it clear that he understands why some fans loved Cruise's portrayal; it just wasn't true to the Jack Reacher source material.
Will the Real Reacher Please Stand Up?
While Ritchson is portraying Reacher in his own way, some will undoubtedly compare his performance to Cruise's, especially given the fact that the two films based on the character were released so long ago.
Ritchson has gushed over Cruise in several interviews, calling him a "legend" who he "grew up watching and revering."
Of course, only time will tell if this recasting results in a Reacher Season 2 on Amazon Prime. Reacher has received mostly excellent reviews, thanks to Ritchson's acting and physical stature.