Author Lee Child’s beloved book series following the character of Jack Reacher has an absolutely rabid fan-base, which explains why actor Alan Ritchson – who is the new Jack Reacher for the upcoming Amazon series — was pessimistic about his chances of landing the lead role. Child’s books were first adapted by Christopher McQuarrie on the big screen with Tom Cruise in the lead role, but despite the fact that 2012’s Jack Reacher absolutely rules, some fans were displeased with Cruise’s physical differences from the book’s Jack Reacher. A sequel, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, was produced with a different director, but after that was released and Cruise got busy with Mission: Impossible, the producers decided it was time to reboot the franchise all over again — this time on the small screen.
When it was first announced that a Jack Reacher TV series was being made, Child admitted that while he liked Cruise, he ultimately agreed with fans that he was wrong for the lead role – Cruise is 5’7” whereas Reacher is described as being 6’5”. So when it came time to cast the new Jack Reacher, Ritchson – whose credits range from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies to the DC Universe series Titans – auditioned but didn’t feel too confident.
Collider’s own Christina Radish spoke with Ritchson about his new film Dark Web: Cicada 3301 (which he directed and co-wrote), and during their conversation Ritchson talked about the intense audition process for the Jack Reacher TV show and how he originally didn’t get the role:
“It’s funny, I actually didn’t get the role at first. I’m not exactly six foot five and I’m not exactly 250, and I had heard that they were being very specific with their physical demands. After working with Tom Cruise and a lot of fans being upset that he didn’t really have the physicality, as great as he was in the role, they really wanted to get that right. I was like, ‘Well, they wanna read me, but I know they’re gonna find someone like Dwayne Johnson, who’s a huge dude.’ I auditioned for the part and it was good, it was just that my take on it was a little different than what they had in mind, at the time.”
But Ritchson got a second shot when there was a behind-the-scenes change-up on the Jack Reacher TV series:
“There was a shake-up with who was casting, so they started again from scratch, and I’d already been passed on, as had everybody who did an audition. But when they came back around, they picked a few tapes that they’d seen already, and I was one of them, so they wanted me to come back and try again, and it worked out. The closer I got to that, the more familiar I became with the Reacher stuff. I’ve really fallen in love. I’ve read the books now and Reacher has some big shoes to fill, metaphorically speaking. I’m just so thrilled to be a part of it. It’s my favorite character that I’ve played yet.”
The actor understandably can’t say much about the series, but he did reveal that they’re going to be adapting one book per season, and they’ll be starting with the first Jack Reacher book, Killing Floor:
“I don’t know how much I can say. I’ll say that we’re gonna be doing a book a season, so the first season will be the first book. I think that’s such a great way to do this. I can see why it’d be exciting as a film, but the slow burn is what I love so much about the books. The way that he goes down the checklist and picks apart these cases, you need time. It’s okay to enjoy that. I think spending a season on each book is gonna be really enjoyable for audiences.”
Ultimately, a part of Ritchson still can’t believe he got the role, and he’s excited to get to work:
“I was overwhelmed when I found out that it had gone my way. It had been months of pursuing it and campaigning and just continuing to fight the fight. There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. There are a lot of different studios and different producers and executives. I’ve been in the business for a long time, but you just don’t know everybody. There’s a level of educating people as to who you are and convincing people that you’re the guy. It was a lot of work and my team did a really great job. My manager had a huge hand in that. So, when it happened, by the time we’d gotten to the end and it was there, I started to feel like maybe it was gonna happen, but it was overwhelming to find out, for sure. It’s a big character and a huge property, so it’s not lost on me, what it is. I’m thrilled.”
Look for our full interview with Ritchson on Collider soon.
Reporting by Christina Radish
He totally blue it.
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