Lee Child is Taking Jack Reacher to the Small Screen without Tom Cruise

After two movies, years of mixed reviews, and plenty of unhappy readers who’ve long said Tom Cruise is too small to play Jack Reacher, New York Times bestselling author Lee Child seems to have finally admitted just that. 

In a new report from Deadline, Child announced new plans for Reacher moving forward. “We’re rebooting and starting over and we’re going to try and find the perfect guy,” said the author, who then confirmed that instead of continuing on with another featured film, this time around he’s taking his beloved character to the small screen. 

“I really enjoyed working with Cruise. He’s a really, really nice guy. We had a lot of fun,” Child said. “But ultimately the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is… So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom Cruise. Instead, we’re going to take it to Netflix or something like that. Long-form streaming television, with a completely new actor.”

Deadline also reports that the deal is with Skydance Television and Paramount Television, who would co-produce, though they’re still looking for the right platform to bring the show to life . . . and the right actor to portray his larger-than-life hero.




A former Army cop who now lives his life as a drifter, Reacher is described as being 6’5″ tall and around 250 pounds. Back in 2014, Child was quoted by the Washington Post as saying “it was completely impossible to find a physical facsimile of Jack Reacher in Hollywood,” after the decision to cast Tom Cruise was met with public skepticism. 

Personally, I thought Cruise did a fine job acting in the role, but anyone who’s ever read one of the books knows that Reacher’s size plays a prominent role in the stories. His sheer girth generally makes people feel a tad uneasy when he walks in the room, and let’s face it, Cruise just doesn’t have that kind of presence. Moreover, the choice to switch from movies to television is fascinating, and certainly follows a trend of writers who’ve opted to have their work adapted for a series over the big screen.

Michael Connelly, for example, has had great success with the Amazon-produced show Bosch, which stars Titus Welliver in the titular role. Daniel Silva recently opted to sell the rights to his #1 New York Times bestselling Gabriel Allon series to MGM TV, forgoing the chance to create a blockbuster movie. Perhaps most notably, though, is the John Krasinski-led Jack Ryan show that was created by Skydance TV and Paramount TV (the same team behind Child’s new project) for Amazon, putting Tom Clancy’s iconic character on television for the first time following multiple movies.

So, while the move to head to televison isn’t surprising, there may still be one problem for Lee Child and the producers . . . there aren’t a whole lot of actors with that size walking around Hollywood. 

Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson comes to mind, though the action star seems to be busy for the next few years with numerous projects in the works. John Cena, another wrestler turned actor, could be a potential option, though that’s only speculation from this reviewer. To keep spitballing, Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones, Aquaman, etc.) and maybe even Chris Pratt–if he can find time between playing Star-Lord and starring in the Jurassic World and Lego Movie franchises–are close enough in size that they could maybe pull it off. Certainly, both would be more believable in the role than Cruise. 

The fact that Lee Child has already taken to Facebook (shown above) to ask his fans who they’d like to see play Reacher would certainly seem to indicate that they’re open to fan suggestions, so head on over and let him know who you’d like to see play the giant-sized nomad moving forward. 

In the meantime, Child’s latest Reacher novel, Past Tense, is now available in bookstores everywhere.


Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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