Jack Reacher author Lee Child calls Tom Cruise too short

By Alexandra Heilbron on November 14, 2018 | 11 Comments

Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher © Chiabella James/2016 Paramount PicturesIn a recent interview with BBC Manchester, Jack Reacher author Lee Child has suddenly admitted Tom Cruise was too short to play the role, after claiming in earlier interviews the height difference wasn’t a concern.

Cruise played Jack Reacher in two features: the 2012 film Jack Reacher and 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.

Child told the radio station that there won’t be more Jack Reacher movies, stating, “Cruise, for all his talent, didn’t have that physicality.” The author did mention that a TV series is in the works with a new actor in the lead role.

However, in a 2011 interview, Child didn’t appear overly concerned about Cruise’s height — or lack of it — at the time, telling Empire magazine: “Obviously, Tom Cruise doesn’t match the physical description of Reacher in the books… but the movie is not going to match the book anyway. More than that though, which actor does match Reacher physically? What people forget is that Tom Cruise is quite possibly the best actor of his generation.”

Child may not be aware that Dwayne Johnson wanted the role, writing in 2017 on Twitter: “Yup, luv the character. Bout 10yrs ago I went after the role, but Cruise got it. Was great motivation for me to always stay hungry.”

Jack Reacher is described in the books as being 6′ 5″ tall. Johnson is exactly that height. Child told The Wall Street Journal in January 2012 that there were “no 6ft 5in giants out there” to play the role. “With another actor you might get 100% of the height but only 90% of Reacher. With Tom, you’ll get 100% of Reacher with 90% of the height.”

So far casting for the TV series has not been announced, as the final deal for the series will be signed later this month, but the production is expected to devote between 10 and 12 hours to each book. When Child was asked about casting, he said: “That’s the great thing about television. It’s much less star-driven than feature films. So it doesn’t need to be a so-called A-list guy.” ~Alexandra Heilbron

Comments & Discussion

  1. Sharon Salsberg • November 14, 2018 @ 5:12 PM

    As a fan of both author Lee Child and his ace, Jack Reacher, I was surprised at the casting of Tom Cruise. Don’t get me wrong. I love Tom Cruise. But Jack Reacher he isn’t. If you are a real fan, you know that both Jack Reacher and Lee Child are tall. In fact, Lee Child’s height was the reason Reacher got his name. He would accompany his wife to the supermarket and short people would ask him to get something off a high shelf. His wife said he could have a career as a ‘reacher’ if the writing gig didn’t pay off, (duh – it has), and thus was born Jack Reacher.

  2. Gerri S • November 14, 2018 @ 9:34 PM

    Robert Taylor of Longmire fame. The first time I saw him I pictured him as Jack Reacher

  3. SandraJane • November 15, 2018 @ 10:18 AM

    Finally! Having read a number of the Jack Reacher books before the first movie came out, I can say I was shocked at the casting of Tom Cruise. Jack Reacher is a former military police, well over 6 feet tall. Tom Cruise is 5’6″. Could never appreciate the movies as a consequence.

  4. Jack Preacher • November 15, 2018 @ 10:32 AM

    I watched Jack Reacher: Never Go Back several times on TV and enjoyed it each time. Time Cruise acted like he was 6’5” at least. Tom Cruise actual height is just a footnote to his acting ability. I hope there will be more Jack Reacher movies starring Tom Cruise.

  5. Sharon Brooks • November 15, 2018 @ 10:37 AM

    DUH! this is what all the fans said when they started making the movies. I heard Tom Cruise got the role because he bankrolled the production. Not sure if that’s true. As a huge fan of the books i refused to see the movies til they came on TV because I knew it wouldn’t be right. I don’t dislike Tom Cruise but much of the mystique of Reacher is his size. Hope they do a TV series with the right actor

  6. Derek Beaupre • November 15, 2018 @ 11:33 AM

    Tom Cruise is no great actor ! For some reason he sold well at the box office. That is likely why the mission impossible movies keep churning out, nothing else he does sells.

  7. Robert • November 15, 2018 @ 1:59 PM

    I’m wondering about the sudden change of attitude from Child concerning Cruise’s height…or lack thereof to play Reacher. When it was first announced that Cruise was getting the role (or more accurately, giving himself the role since he purchased the rights to the books and was producing the movies) the hardcore Reacher book fans (myself included) screamed to high heaven that Cruise was too short to play the role….Child responded (perhaps shooting himself in the foot) by pretty much saying that the fans’ opinions didn’t really matter and that Cruise could play the essence of the role and that Reacher’s height wasn’t a big deal (if it wasn’t a big deal, then why write him as being 6’5″ and 250 lbs and dominating foes with his size and strength???)…..now he seems to be changing his tune and simply regurgitating thoughts and opinions that the fans had back when the first movie was announced. Sucking up o the fans who made the books and Child popular in the first place, perhaps? I’d like to know what the sales of his latest books have been,….maybe sales dropped as a backlash from fans over the movie casting? If books sales drop, publishers will offer the writer less money for their next contract,…so that takes money out of Child’s pocket,…so maybe this backtracking is his way of saving face and trying to bring his original fans back to the books, increase sales, increase the money he’s offered for the books…? I know I for one stopped buying his books when they would come out in paperback,…I’d wait for them to show up at the used bookstore and then buy them at half the cover price…(I found that after Cruise made the first movie, the books seemed to become less original “Reacher” and Child was writing them more as if he were writing stuff that Cruise could play)….so getting them at a used bookstore is a deal for me and does not count as a “sale” by the publishers.
    And I find it funny that he states that there will be no more movies with Cruise,…Cruise still owns the rights to 17 of the books, he’s the movie producer,…the only one who can say that there will be no more movies with Cruise is Cruise himself,….he can keep making them as long as he wants (unless the writes revert back to the writer after a specified amount of time) and hell, if Cruise wanted to, he could step away from the role and give it to Danny DeVito,….so I’m not putting a lot of faith in Child’s announcement,…as he has no real power when it comes to the movie productions.

  8. Joyce Davis • November 17, 2018 @ 10:04 AM

    Love these books by Lee Child but did not see movies because Tom Cruise is no Reacher. So disappointed when he was cast.

  9. Jan • November 17, 2018 @ 12:22 PM

    Gosh, his name escapes me, but when I saw the first Reacher movie, there was a henchman for the bad guy. Reacher has a few encounters with him. I remember thinking at the time that guy would make a good Reacher.

  10. Deborah Fraser • November 18, 2018 @ 1:22 AM

    Jack Reacher is my favorite book character (His birthday is the same as mine), I don’t understand how Tom Cruise was even considered to star as 6’5″ Jack Reacher. When you read a book series you always have a picture in your head of what the main character looks like, Tom Cruise is no Jack Reacher. I hope they choose the right actor for the TV series, I believe it will make a big impact on the ratings!

  11. Betty • November 18, 2018 @ 7:25 AM

    Cruise bought the movie rights to a couple of Child’s books…then cast himself as Reacher…..big ego….

  12. gary wykle • November 18, 2018 @ 10:11 AM

    tom cruise plays the part very well when is the next movie soon i hops

  13. Matt Cuddy • November 18, 2018 @ 4:44 PM

    I watched “The Blue Dahlia” a few nights ago, and careful camera positioning, along with the correct lens could make Even Alan Ladd look over six feet, disregarding the hole his co-star had to stand in.

  14. Terry • November 18, 2018 @ 9:52 PM


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