October 26th, 2011
02:41 PM ET
When it comes to adapting a book for film, one of the largest issues is how to find a lead that will do the material justice while also keeping in mind the physical traits fans have memorized.
That dilemma crops up time and time again, from Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games" to who would play Steve Jobs in a potential movie, but the challenge was no less apparent than with the casting of Tom Cruise as Lee Child's statuesque Jack Reacher.
The 6'5 retired military cop, who weighs in at 250 pounds in the books, will be played by shorter leading man Tom Cruise in the upcoming "One Shot." When news was announced over the summer, fans were not pleased.
In an interview with Empire magazine, Cruise admits that he is "very sensitive" to the casting debate.
"This is Lee's book and Lee's character," the 49-year-old actor says. "Him giving me his blessing is what made me do it. If he hadn't, I wouldn't have done it."
Indeed, a post on Lee Child's website says the author is "thrilled" with Cruise in the part. "Don't forget Lee has spent equal time on either side of the page/screen divide and understands better than most that changes are necessary and inevitable," the post says. "And like Reacher, [Child] doesn't favor half-measures...if we're going to have a movie, then let's have a movie star in it!"
Reacher's stature is just one aspect of the character, Cruise says in his interview with Empire, adding that it's a role he's committed to portraying, lack of height, rugged looks and girth be damned.
"Reacher is such a great character," he says. "He doesn't have a cell phone, he doesn't have email. He's off the grid...In a sense he's sort of a Dirty Harry, a James Bond, a Josey Wales."
The Cruise-starring "One Shot" is scheduled to bow in theaters on February 8, 2013. Read the rest of Cruise's interview in the December issue of Empire magazine.
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