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Tom Cruise, perfect to play Lee Child's 6-foot-5 tough

June 14, 2011 | 12:29 pm

Tomcruisekatieholmes_may201 Tom Cruise is in talks to play Jack Reacher, the 6-foot-5 tough guy created by author Lee Child. And Child says he doesn't mind that the actor, 10 inches shorter and perhaps a bit older than his fictional killer, may take on the role.

"Reacher's size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way," Child said, according to Deadline Hollywood, which has an exclusive report on the potential film deal.

Although the exact film in which Cruise may star is based on the Jack Reacher book "One Shot," the character figures in 15 books by Child. The latest, "Worth Dying For," hit the L.A. Times bestseller list. In all, Deadline Hollywood reports, Child's Jack Reacher books have sold more than 40 million copies.

Kenneth Turan explained the character in our pages in 2009:

As he details in his resume in "Gone Tomorrow," he started out in the Army, "thirteen years a military policeman, the elite 110th investigative unit, service all over the world." Then, when the Cold War ended, "suddenly getting cut loose."

On his own, Reacher decides less is more. He travels around the country with no luggage, no belongings, no home, nothing to tie him down. He goes with the flow to a certain extent, like those tourists who want to leave only footprints, but at a certain point something happens while he's around and he has no choice but to get involved and tidy up. ...

One of the great conceits of the Reacher novels, however, is [in the novel "Gone Tomorrow"] in force and that is the tendency of the folks he deals with to consistently underestimate him. Unlike Sherlock Holmes or Paul Temple, Reacher is not known to the criminal world, and the bad guys are always telling him, "Stay away from this," "You're out of your depth" and the ever-popular "You got lucky." You want to scream at them, "This is Jack Reacher for pity's sake, he'll eat you for breakfast!" He will, you know, and that's why we keep coming back for more.

If all goes as planned, "One Shot," starring Tom Cruise, will film in Pittsburgh before Cruise begins work on another film scheduled to begin shooting in January. But is Jack Reacher a match for Batman? Because "The Dark Knight Rises" is scheduled to film on those same city streets this summer.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise at a premiere in New York in September 2010. Credit: Evan Agostini / Associated Press

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