The Hollywood megastar may have to convince fans he's capable of playing a 6ft 5in vigilante drifter, but author Lee Child is convinced
He's a 6ft 5in, 250lb saturnine killing machine who travels around the US slaying baddies with nothing but the clothes on his back and the wallet in his pocket. Who better to play Jack Reacher, the hero of Lee Child's series of bestsellers, than Tom Cruise: 5ft 7in, pushing 50, prone to emotional outbursts and regular flashes of gnashers.
But Deadline has confirmed that Cruise is in talks to star in One Shot, an adaptation of the ninth novel in the Reacher series (which so far totals 15 books and 40 million copies). The story sees Reacher initially flummoxed by a case in which a lone sniper murders five people before being captured.
Cruise has long been linked to the series. Before his split with Paula Wagner at United Artists, the pair optioned the books, and Child himself has expressed eagerness for Cruise to take the part. "Reacher's size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way," said Child, in answer to fans who felt Cruise might be too diminutive for the role.
The film is scheduled to start shooting in the autumn, before Cruise starts work on Oblivion, an apocalyptic sci-fi film from the director of Tron: Legacy.
One Shot would be directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who has also adapted the novel. McQuarrie and Cruise have previously collaborated on Valkyrie and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. Cruise won acclaim for his portrayal of an engaging hitman in 2004's Collateral, directed by Michael Mann.