Some critics and fans of the Jack Reacher books have knocked that the diminutive Tom Cruise is playing the title role in the Reacher film One Shot, despite a severe mismatch in physical characteristics. Jack Reacher is supposed to be a giant with a 50 inch chest. Tom Cruise is well known, and often parodied, for being a small guy.
So why use Tom Cruise to play this role when another actor might fit this role a little more naturally? Here are five reasons why Cruise is the right choice for Reacher.
1. When you need someone to do FAST, fun dialogue, Tom Cruise is the first call you make. The trailers may show some awesome fights, but in between the movie relies heavily on great banter that few others beside writer/director Chris McQuarrie could pull off.
2. From Pixar’s Rules for Storytelling - #16 “Stack the odds against [your main character.]” There’s one particularly great fist fight where we learn just how tough Jack Reacher is. When five guys jump a 6’5” brute, it’s easier to see how he might win. When they jump the short and slight Tom Cruise, the odds are stacked against him. It’s harder to believe he could win, and it would take a great filmmaker to pull it off convincingly. And they’ve done it.
3. Jack Reacher’s theme delves too deeply into what American freedom really is for one of the many foreign actors to play. Reacher offers a unique perspective on what it means to be free in our country. Free from the shackles most of us never see around our wrists and ankles. In Reacher’s mind, he’s the only person truly exercising his freedom. Having Russell Crowe or some other famous Australian or British actor would be like having a man play Aileen Wuornos in Monster.
4. High speed hyper-action. If you’ve seen even the lesser Mission Impossible movies, you know Tom Cruise has established himself as the white guy’s answer to Jackie Chan. He pulls off amazing stunts and unforgettable sequences in those movies. You’ll be telling all your friends about the bathtub fight in Jack Reacher. Other action stars could not have made this as much fun.
5. Having fun in the face of moral ambiguity, you need to be able to act to get to a subtle place of pleasure in vendetta without being sadistic. That does mean you need a real actor. Say what you will about Tom Cruise’s personal life, his trademark high intensity is known the world over for a reason. He always brings it.
After you weigh all these factors, it’s easy to see how Jack Reacher might have remained a book if anyone besides Tom Cruise wanted to be in it.
The film is set for release on Dec. 21.