By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 13, 2011 at 11:54AM
For fans of the Jack Reacher series of pulpy, action drive books, this bit of casting news might send you into a bit of a fit.
Deadline reports that Tom Cruise is negotiating for the lead role in Christopher McQuarrie's adaptation of Lee Child's "One Shot" that he would also direct. The writer/director -- who penned previous Cruise vehicles "Valkyrie" and "Mission: Impossible--Ghost Protocol" as well as a draft of "Top Gun 2" -- signed on the project last year and it's a series aching to be turned into a franchise. The books, which "Sleepers" author Lorenzo Carcaterra named last year as one of the ten thrillers that should be adapted into movies, focuses on Reacher, a former military policeman-turned-drifter, and stretches to over a dozen novels so far. "One Shot," the ninth in the series, involves Reacher being drawn into the case of a military sniper accused of five murders, and discovering a cover-up along the way. But Cruise pretty much runs completely opposite to how Reacher is depicted in the series of books.
In Child's novels, Reacher is a monster of a man standing 6'5" (as opposed to Cruise's 5'7") and weighing around 250 lbs, with sandy blonde hair and a domineering presence of the kind that makes people turn around in restaurants to see what just breezed in the door. He's a loner who moves town to town with nothing more than literally the shirt on his back and a few bucks in his pocket. His military training makes him a dangerous weapon and he can often tear apart more than one person at once with ease. The author of the book isn't particularly perturbed by the size of the actor who takes the role, but is apparently more concerned with their presence. We suppose Cruise could pull it off if he underwent a helluva transformation and gave up any ideas of having finely tousled hair, but if it's not done right, it might just wind up playing at a sub-Bourne material (and it should be noted, these books are pulpy to begin with -- though undeniably compelling reads -- and will need a careful handle on the tone to prevent them just being plain absurd or over-the-top). This frankly seems like a role better suited to someone like Thomas Jane, but obviously, he doesn't save the same box office pull or fame as Cruise.
But nothing is locked in just yet. As usual, Cruise is taking his time (and he's also been looking at "Pacific Rim") but ideally, the film will roll after he's done "Rock Of Ages" and before he gears up for Joseph Kosinki's "Oblivion." If for whatever reason that timeline can't be meet, Deadline suggest the film could shoot after. Pittsburgh has already been selected as a shooting location and it seems it's just a matter of seeing if/when Cruise decides to sign and you can bet Paramount Pictures and David Ellison's Skydance Productions -- who are producing the film -- will be doing their best to lock him down.