Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise And ‘Concealed Homophobia’

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I got to sit down with Lee Child (right), to interview him for the Irish Examiner on the publication of the latest Jack Reacher tome, THE AFFAIR. A very interesting conversation it was, too, especially when Child discussed the negative reaction to the casting of Tom Cruise as Reacher, which he believes is in part a kind of ‘concealed homophobia’. To wit:
SIZE may or may not matter, but for author Lee Child, height certainly isn’t an issue. Particularly if it means that his famously tall hero, ex-US army MP Jack Reacher, will be played in the movies by the diminutive Tom Cruise.
  “Making movies is incredibly complicated,” says Child. “Somebody once advanced the metaphor that you’ve got a hundred extension cords, and they’re all a foot too short. So there are a thousand things to worry about, but an exact physical facsimile of the printed character is not one of them, no.”
  Child is fully appreciative of the fact that Jack Reacher’s fans have been up in arms about the casting of Cruise. “I’m very grateful for the way the character seems to have entered people’s consciousness,” he says. “The ownership of the character has migrated outwards, so that every reader now has a stake in Reacher.”
  By the same token, he believes there’s something sinister in the aggressively negative reaction.
  “I think a lot of this negative anger is a kind of concealed homophobia among certain people,” he says. “I mean, this persistent rumour that Cruise is gay, and the comments about his smallness and his prettiness, smacks to me of something that is not quite all revealed yet.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here


Mack said...

I wonder who these "certain people" are? I don't remember any negative comments about Cruise as Reacher that hinted at homophobia. My objection is that Cruise is completely not Reacher and I have no confidence that he can pull off the role. They are going for box office draw and saying that "exact physical facsimile" is not needed is mere gloss.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I have read a few interviews with LC, and he seems like a cool guy. Have not read any Reacher novels, but I'm sure I will some day.

"Or Complaining to my dealer" great line by LC from the interview you posted!

Gerald So said...

Great interview, Dec.

I think the backlash is partly Child's own doing in identifying Reacher so often by his size. Perhaps if he didn't, we'd be able to imagine any number of actors playing Reacher.

I believe Tom Cruise can pull off everything else about Reacher. My objection is his Reacher would essentially be a role he's already played: Ethan Hunt.

Dave Riebe said...

I`ve read many of the Reacher novels and I am really dissapointed that Tom Cruise got the part.Just a poor choice.I will not be going to the theater to see the movie.Tom Cruise is a show biz phony and he can take his Scientology and stick it where the Sun doesn`t shine.Anyone but him!

Tom Bale said...

I feel sorry for Lee Child (or about as sorry as a failing mid-lister can feel for a multi-millionaire bestselling author). His efforts to justify casting Tom Cruise are easily as heroic as anything Jack Reacher has done lately. But he's in an impossible position. Okay, most of his fans feel strongly that Cruise is wrong for the part, but I'd say it has nothing to do with nasty rumours about his sexuality. Personally I like a lot of his films and think he can make a convincing action hero. But...

This is a man who is not just short, but FAMOUSLY short. Reacher is just as famously tall. As Gerald says, this point is constantly reiterated in the books.

However, Cruise is also an A-list star who can greenlight a movie. Most of the more suitable actors (including my favourite for the role, Ray Stevenson) don't have that sort of status. If Cruise's involvement guarantees the movie gets made, how could Child possibly turn him down - even assuming he has any say in the casting decisions? And who could honestly say they would tell Hollywood to take a running jump in such circumstances? If the film is a flop no one will blame Lee Child; if it's a success he'll rightly be credited as the ultimate creator - and either way the books will sell even more copies as a result of the publicity.

critical mick said...

Lee Child has said that Reacher's enormous physical size is a metaphor for his unstoppability, driving the novels along. Like him or not, Tom Cruise has Hollywood unstoppability.

The dude may be a flake in real life, but he makes a good film. Minority Report/Collateral/the MI flicks... If we could just forgive Cruise for the AWFUL accent in Far and Away, we all might enjoy seeing Lee's shtuff finally brought to the big screen.

Joanne said...

I thought he was very good as a contract killer in Collateral (2004). He was not the pretty Tom Cruise you would expect.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

I forget which actor said it when asked about the casting / outcome of his novel that was adapted to film. It went something like, "I cashed the check,"

Dmace said...

Cruise is a big Lee Child and Reacher fan, and also one of the main producers.
Since half of the novels is written in first person, we all get to imagine being Reacher, and so does Cruise.
But, as most of us do not, Cruise has got the money to set a movie up by himself to play Reacher. Probably a dream come true for Cruise, and Lee Child will not be left out.

Anonymous said...

No this has nothing to do with homophopia. Lee Child you are acting like a fool. You will ruin your character for your FANS, plain and simple. Your excuses are insulting.
Tom Cruise cannot convey the character as you have written him and all of the elements that make Reacher what he is to fans are gone with this small, skinny old man playing him. He cannot play stoic, he cannot play tough, he cannot walk up to a group of men and scare them with his mere presence, he can't even be in a fight scene and pull it off. He was laughable in Collateral. He will be laughable trying to act tough and certainly won't BE Reacher, he'll just be using the name. You sold out Lee, I will no longer be reading any of your books.

Anonymous said...

He was HORRIBLE in Collateral, it's hard to say who was less believable in that movie, Foxx or Cruise. Tom Cruise in a white wig trying to act tough was goofy. Plain and simple. He is a goofball and will look goofy trying to act like Reacher. He looks like a little boy in the simple Reacher clothes, they already have video of the filming. Spiky hair, puny little man in jeans and a tshirt. Mini Reacher. Pathetic.