In Jack Reacher (based the book One Shot), the Tom Cruise movie currently in production, Cruise steps into the guise of one Jack Reacher, a hard-as-nails ex-military man turned drifter who wanders the U.S dispensing his own brand of rough justice wherever it’s needed.
Reacher is the brainchild of British author Lee Child, who has written 16 installments in the Reacher series. The books are so popular, in fact, that dedicated fans are affectionately referred to as Reacher Creatures. According to Amazon UK, In 2011, Lee Child was the most successful UK-born kindle author worldwide!
Tom Cruise fans who have plowed through one of these fast-paced, white-knuckle reads understand the fascination with the stoic drifter. The U.S military gave birth to Reacher in every sense of the word. Born on a military base in Berlin in 1960, he spent his youth as a military brat traveling around the world from base to base, never staying long enough in one place to make friends. At eighteen, he entered West Point. Upon graduation four years later, he joined the Army and spent most of the next 13 years as part of an elite military police unit developed to tackle the most complicated military cases.
As befits a man with such a pedigree, Reacher owns pounds of service awards, including a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. He’s an accomplished fighter, though apparently not an expert in any particular style. (Snapping necks, however, is not an unfamiliar act to him.) His knowledge of firearms is equally sophisticated, and he owns a number of pistol and rifle marksmanship awards to prove it.
The Origins Of An Original Headbanger
Lee Child talks about his most famous creation—Jack Reacher
And these are just the gritty ingredients that make up the Reacher backstory. In most of the books, he’s already mustered out of the military and is a drifter moving from one city or town to the next. As one would expect, everywhere he lands, he encounters bad people doing bad things and in need of the kind of bone-jarring, head-splitting justice only Reacher can dole out
Tom With A Sword
Jack Reacher isn’t the first character Tom has played who embraces the beast within. Here The Last Samurai’s Nathan Algren participates in a fencing contest, much to the dismay of his opponents.
Made in the mold of the lone-avenger who drifts into situations sorely in need a hero and then drifts out again when justice has been served, Reacher brings with him an unshakeable character and a tendency to toward silence. A familiar line that runs throughout the series is “Reacher said nothing.” When provoked to violence, however, passive observation gives way to voluminous violence: Debilitating injuries are hallmarks of his fighting style. These lines from Worth Dying For, the 15th Reacher novel, provide a clear window into his military mindset.
At the beginning of the book he is forced to dismantle two hulking former football players in a small town in Nebraska. Despite rendering both men unconscious, he proceeds to break their wrists, thinking, “The two men were somebody’s weapons, consciously deployed, and no soldier left an enemy’s abandoned ordnance on the field in working order.”
In One Shot, the 9th book in the series, Reacher finds himself in a small city in Indiana trying to puzzle out the mystery behind a senseless massacre. An ex-military sniper has randomly shot dead five people, leaving behind a clear path to his door, which the police take of its hinges in an early morning raid. Upon his arrest, the only thing he will say to his attorney is “Get Jack Reacher for me.” Reacher, of course, is already in route, and what follows will turn out highly unpleasant for anyone who gets in his way.
Tom With A Gun
As Vincent in Collateral, Tom plays a stone-faced killer with a philosophical bent. Here he redefines clubbing.
Set for a 2013 release, Jack Reacher could herald the arrival of a ferocious new screen presence. In addition to the menacing Vincent and Nathan above, fans can go all the way back to Taps, Tom’s first significant role, to find him embracing the dark side. Even Ethan Hunt, the IMF’s go-to secret agent, did what was necessary when the chips were down and a little “exertion” was called for. If nothing else, Jack Reacher should be a role for Tom Cruise fans to remember.
Are you a Jack Reacher fan? In the comments section below, tell us what you look forward to most in the upcoming film. And connect with the TOMCRUISE.COM team on Twitter, Facebook, WhoSay, Orkut, Gree, Sina Weibo, Google+ and Tencent Weibo. Plus, get all the latest news and insider information when you sign up for the TomCruise.com official newsletter today!