A few years ago I was musing on why one of my favorite fiction tough guys – Jack Reacher – hadn’t been made into an ongoing film series. And anyone who is a Lee Child fan will now know that the first movie, One Shot, is coming to a Hollywood screen near you. For hard core fans of Reacher, a noble nomadic loner with no real possessions except a moral code that dispatches anything on the wrong side of right, what could be better? From the WSJ, here’s the story of how Reacher finally leapt off the pages and into sight, sound and motion – including the various false starts and the casting issues that finally led to Tom Cruise getting the role.

As you’d expect there’s been a lot of chatter about the diminutive Cruise (5-foot-8) getting the role of a character so much taller and tougher (6-feet-5 and 250 pounds). Love Tom or not (and I don’t), Jim Grant (aka Lee Child) has changed tack and put his weight behind Cruise: “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.” Does he mean this or is it just hype?

If the popularity of the latest Mission Impossible is anything to go by, Child might mean it. He says the One Shot film will be extremely faithful to the book, underscoring that’s it’s the storytelling that will ultimately decide whether it’s a one shot movie or the next Jason Bourne film franchise. Let’s hope the screen play has chops. With 50 million copies in the series sold worldwide, it’s time for Hollywood to step up.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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