The new series Reacher is now streaming in Amazon Prime, bringing fans of Lee Child’s novels their new Jack Reacher in the form of Alan Ritchson. Comparisons between Ritchson’s interpretation of the character and the book version, not to mention the previous movies led by Tom Cruise, are inevitable — and Ritchson himself has been aware from the start of the pressure to get it right.
In a recent interview on the Inside of You podcast, Ritchson told host Michael Rosenbaum all about the lengthy, competitive auditioning process. “They passed on me the first time,” he said. “They passed on everybody the first time … There were probably 2,000 other guys. “
Several months passed before Ritchson was contacted by the show’s new casting director, who asked him to try out again for Reacher. Because this was all happening during the pandemic, Ritchson was submitting all of his auditions remotely, and recalls that the producers actually asked him to strip to the waist and measure his full height on camera so that they could be sure he embodied the physical characteristics of Jack Reacher.
“There are so many cooks in the kitchen, in a good way, “he said.” There are so many people who have a vested interest in delivering something that works to the fans. “
Ultimately, it took seven or eight different auditions before Ritchson landed the role, at which point he got to work gaining muscle so that book readers who were expecting to see a huge Jack Reacher would not be disappointed, as many were when the Tom Cruise movie came out. Ritchson, for his part, had nothing but good things to say about Cruise’s tenure as Reacher, although he acknowledges that he probably fits the character’s body type more accurately.
“I only owe Mr Cruise a debt of gratitude for the visibility that he brought to this role, but there are a lot of people who comment that he’s not exactly the size that Reacher should be, and that’s a large character in this,” he said. “Suffice to say, he also still carried those franchises into hundreds of thousands of dollars without that, so that’s a testament to his talent and craft. He’s incredible. But, you know, a lot of fans weren’t happy, and so there’s obviously a level of anxiety from the executives, like ‘we do not want to mess this up again.’
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