The pair do ignite plenty of sparks, but there is no actual love scene between them. “We manage to get the satisfaction of a love affair without ever touching,” she said. (American audiences will recognize her as Helen, Carey Mulligan‘s female counterpart in An Education, or as Jane Bennett in Joe Wright‘s 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.)
Pike, an ethereal blonde, appeared at the New York press conference for Jack Reacher alongside fellow Brit thespian David Oyelowo, writer-director Christopher McQuarrie, and author Lee Child, who wrote the best selling Jack Reacher book series.
The fictional Reacher is a blonde, six foot, five inch brawny behemoth — which has left some fans of the book outraged at the perceived miscasting of Cruise, a brunette who hovers around 5’7″. (Fans also howled because Cruise clearly had an inside track to getting the part — he was a co-producer before he signed on to also star in it).
“When we started to compile the list of six foot-five, 250 pound, blond-haired, blue-eyed, American actors, we discovered that not only were there none, but there had never been one and there were none in the pipeline,” explained McQuarrie. “We knew very early on that fans were going to have a reaction no matter who we cast.”
“So we thought, well, if they’re going to be angry, let’s make sure they’re angry before they see the movie and not after they see the movie. That meant that we could not compromise on any other aspect of the character.”
Author Lee Child, whose books have sold over 60 million copies worldwide, had a different reaction when asked about the casting controversy.
“First of all, I’m extremely grateful that any of my readers are so passionate about it. I mean, the first gold-standard metric that I would have given my right arm for at the beginning of my career was that people were going to care.”
The British-born author compared the changes the filmmakers made to Jonathan Demme‘s adaption of Silence of the Lambs, noting that in the book Hannibal Lecter has six fingers on one hand, and in the movie, he doesn’t, suggesting it was necessary for the book but not for the film.
“I’m confident that 10 percent of my fans are going to hate the movie anyway, because this is their possession and it’s being taken away from them. I absolutely understand that,” he admitted. “But 90 percent of them, if they go with open minds, are going to come out like I did and think, ‘I want to see it again. Right now, immediately! Because it was great!’”
Oyelowo, who played Preacher Green in The Help and also appears in Lincoln, confessed that as a man of color, “one of the things I have an allergic reaction to playing is the mandatory best-friend-cop-detective type, and you will never see me in that movie.”
In Jack Reacher, he does play a detective, albeit one that he sees as “a genuine counterpoint. There is a [Detective] Emerson movie, you know, that is parallel to this, in a sense. And he’s on his own track, and that was a lot of fun to play.”
McQuarrie, meanwhile, was candid, admitting that the movie company’s “unspoken mandate” was not to cast a person of color. The list of actors up for the part were all Caucasian and finally the star of the movie, Tom himself, decreed that Oyelowo should be cast.
“Tom said, ‘He’s really good, just put him in the role’,” McQuarrie recounted. “So David ended up in the movie. Also David is exceptionally good natured — and I’m not! And so I loved coming to work and taking advantage that he is such a good soul.”
Watch the theatrical trailer for Jack Reacher, and then let us know what you thought of the movie in the comments below!
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