Interview: Lee Child Talks 'Jack Reacher,' Written by: Karen Benardello
Adapting a popular book featuring a lead character who’s determined to obtain justice into a visually stunning film is not always an easy task. But the new action crime drama ‘Jack Reacher,’ which is based on ‘One Shot,’ the ninth novel in best-selling British author Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ book series, naturally embodies the multi-dimensional and iconic nature of the title character. Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the film features the vigilante’s moral viewpoints and captivating stunt work.
‘Jack Reacher’ follows an ex-military, trained assassin who randomly shoots five people dead as they go about their everyday lives in Pittsburgh. When the police, led by Emerson (David Oyelowo), quickly apprehend the sniper, he only asks for Jack Reacher (portrayed by Tom Cruise), an ex-Army military investigator, who prefers to avoid other people. When Jack first arrives in Pittsburgh to help the sniper’s attorney, Helen (played by Rosamund Pike), the daughter of the District Attorney prosecuting the case, Rodin (portrayed by Richard Jenkins), he’s convinced of the suspect’s guilt. But despite his belief and his past connection with the believed killer, Jack proceeds with the case.
Easily self-sufficient and hyper-observant, Jack is determined to help Helen win the case, as he’s driven by a keen sense of justice. During the investigation, he finds an unlikely enemy, and uses his bias for violence and strategy to expose the entire truth.
Child, who has written 17 novels in his famous ‘Jack Reacher’ series since its debut in 1997, generously took the time to exclusively talk about the film adaptation of his 2005 book, ‘One Shot,’ in New York City. Among other things, the writer discussed what it was like collaborating with both Cruise and McQuarrie; how Cruise’s acting landed him the role of the title role, even though he doesn’t fit the book’s physical description of the lead character; and how he was impressed with Cruise’s stunt work in the film.
ShockYa (SY): Christopher McQuarrie directed and wrote ‘Jack Reacher.’ How did the process of adapting the book come about-did the studio approach you with the idea to make the film, or were you interested in making a movie based on the Jack Reacher character?
Lee Child (LC): I love the movies. Obviously, as an author, there’s no automatic way to make your book into a movie, but you have the possibility of doing that. So, initially someone comes along and says, do you want to do a deal? The answer is either yes or no, and I said yes, because I hoped it would happen, and eventually it did happen. I’m pleased about it.
SY: ‘Jack Reacher’ was shot on location in Pittsburgh, and had an industrial feel to it. Do you think the cinematography helped enhance the story and the character of Jack Reacher overall?
LC: Yeah. I think that even though the fictional city in the book was not Pittsburgh, it had the same feeling, with the river, the wet streets and the brick buildings. I think it captured the mood of the book very well. The mood and the tone of the book are very largely created by the environment they’re set in.
I think not only (Chris) McQuarrie, but Caleb Deschanel, the DP (Director of Photographer), and all the designers really got that. They dressed the film well, and it looks like the book to me.
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