Fan-Cast: Jack Reacher

Two weeks ago, I talked about three book series I enjoy reading and their respective main characters: Vince Flynn’s “Mitch Rapp”, Brad Thor’s “Scot Harvath”, and Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher”. Last week, I attempted to fan-cast the first two, and today I’m gonna try the third. And it ain’t easy! As you probably know, there was already a Reacher movie starring Tom Cruise. But, I prefer to think of it as belonging to an inconsequential, alternate universe. If there is any chance of a new movie or TV series starring Reacher, I have a couple ideas about what kind of person should be cast. (Hint: No one under 6’4″ allowed!)

Jack Reacher sketch

Jack Reacher sketch by illustrator (and fan) Howard Chaykin

When Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” novel series begins, it has been only a few months since his discharge from the Army, and Reacher is roughly 36 or 37. By the time of the events of Echo Burning (Reacher #5), based on a few comments Reacher makes, he is 40 — maybe 41. Whether they start a new TV/movie series with the story from Killing Floor (Reacher #1) or a little later, we probably don’t want anyone younger than 35, unless they make him up to look just a little older. Plus, he needs to have a certain “hardness” about him. On the other end of the age scale, a youthful 45 is probably our maximum, if we want to stay reasonably close to the source material. (I’m actually more flexible on the age issue for Reacher than I am on his physical size & build.)

He is described as being neither ugly nor exceptionally attractive. He is 6’5″, very solidly built and mostly muscle, but he doesn’t work out and would not have much muscular definition. Thus, he should look more like a slab of beef than a chiseled bodybuilder. He weighs at least 250lbs (“18 stone”), sometimes closer to 270lbs. It’s also said he has a 50″ chest (though that might be slight exaggeration), dirty blond hair, and blue eyes.

I know this will sound like a pun, but it’s absolutely true: Reacher’s size is a big part of who he is as a character. (On the other hand, he shouldn’t be too tall, either, so I did not consider anyone over 6’7″.) As I indicated in my very first post for this blog, it is for these reasons (and others) that I would never have cast Cruise in the role, no matter how “big” a star he is. He doesn’t fit for so many reasons. Then again, who does? This role is much harder to cast for than Scot Harvath and at least as hard as casting the dusky-skinned Mitch Rapp.

Of course, attractiveness is a subjective thing, but whoever gets cast for Reacher might need some makeup to make him less handsome. Also, a lot of guys this size, whether in show biz or sports or both, work out to try to get more definition, so some candidates might actually have to stop working out for awhile or do something else to reduce the definition, probably by adding some body fat. (Six-pack abs not allowed!) Joe Manganiello (6’5″,b.1976) would have been considered, but he spends a lot of time on sculpting his body — I recently saw a new book (Evolution) he has about his workouts, and he is definitely “cut” — and would probably not agree to erasing all of that hard work. But, I do have a few ideas for who might.

First, though, I’ll mention that Dolph Lundgren (6’5″,b.1957) would have been considered if he was 20 years younger. Same goes for Brian Steele (6’7″,b.1956), who has played a ton of Hollywood creatures over the years. Conrad Goode (6’5.5″,b.1962) would have been *perfect* — check out some of his IMDB pics — but he’s over 50, now, too. Any of them would have been great. I looked at Rory McCann (6’6″,b.1969), but I don’t think he has the right look. I considered Derek Mears (6’5″,b.1972), who is in his early 40s (but might still pass for a few years younger), but I’m not sure he has the right look, either. On the other end of the age scale, I thought Yuriy Kolokolnikov (6’5″,b.1980), who recently played the leader of a tribe of cannabilistic warrior mercenaries in “Game of Thrones”, was worth a look. But, even if he bulked up quite a bit, he is too young-looking. This brings us to my final three candidates to play our reluctant hero….

Jack Reacher

Marc Gibbon - b&w portfolio shot

Marc Gibbon

Mark Gibbon in weird armorMark Gibbon (6’5″,b.1970+?)

I could not find anywhere online that gives Gibbon’s birthdate or approximate age. But, based on his looks and length of career, I am guessing he was born around 1970 — give or take a couple years. This just barely keeps him in the running. He has a good look for the part and is big without looking like he works out all the time. (Maybe some, but not much muscular definition.) Gibbon’s genre work is extensive and includes appearances in “The X-Files”, “Stargate SG-1”, “Smallville”, as well as in movies like The Chronicles of Riddick, Underworld: Awakening, and Man of Steel. He is known for his deep voice (and has done genre voice work), which I think would be great for Reacher.


Wladimir Klitschko and Hayden Panettiere - casual

Wladimir Klitschko - in red trunks and pumping fist

Wladimir Klitschko

Wladimir Klitschko (6’6″,b.1976; heavyweight boxing champ)

Klitschko may seem like an unusual choice, and he does have very limited “acting” experience (e.g., Ocean’s Eleven, Pain & Gain), so he’ll need some lessons (and a voice coach). But, he is definitely the right size and build; and, as a heavyweight boxing champ, he is obviously in good shape and should be up for a very physical role. Obviously, he works out, but he’s not overdeveloped, and I’m sure he could lose some of it for the role. He is the youngest of the three and, of course, he is also known for dating actress Hayden Panettiere (seen pic). I wonder what he would look like as a blonde….


Adam Copeland - sitting, jeans, leather jacket

Adam Copeland

Edge autographed 8x10Adam Copeland (6’5″,b.1973)

I’m not a big wrestling fan, but if you are, you might know Copeland as “Edge” from WWE/WWF. Copeland has had a recurring role on the TV series “Haven” since 2011, which is where I became aware of him, but he also appeared in the series “Sanctuary” and starred in the movie Bending the Rules. He’s been trying to get more acting roles, so maybe this is it. He has the height and build for Reacher; plus, unlike the other two, he wouldn’t need to dye his hair. (And, he’s not a jerk like his wrestling character.) Copeland is square-jawed, barely 40 (but can pass for younger), and as of now, he is probably my favorite choice to play Reacher. (Although, a combination of Copeland and Gibbon would be better.)

There are other muscular guys of roughly the desired height, of course. But, they are either way too huge or “ripped” (e.g., Dwayne Johnson, Rob Archer), have no acting experience (e.g., various athletes) or desire to, the wrong ethnicity, the wrong age, or some combination thereof. So, given the limited choices, I think the candidates I came up with are pretty good. I’ll stay on the lookout for “the perfect Reacher”, though. Do you have any suggestions?

EXTRA BONUS: Here is Duncan Munro, “the Aussie Jack Reacher”, roasting Lee Child while in character (sort of) as Reacher!



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