Tom Cruise Beat Out Dwayne Johnson for the Role of ‘Jack Reacher’
Here’s a story you might’ve missed this past week. With the Fast and the Furious franchise under his belt, we’ve sorta learned to take Dwayne Johnson’s star power for granted. After all, Johnson was the highest grossing male box office star of 2016, suggesting that all you need is a half-decent fight choreographer and Johnson to gross $100 million at the box office. That being said, there was a time not so long ago when Johnson could still go after major Hollywood roles and lose out to more established actors. One such movie was Jack Reacher, which was a role the actor revealed he lost to Tom Cruise.
Johnson, who is a prolific social media user, recently answered a fan’s question on Twitter (via ScreenRant) about he desire to maybe play the lead in the Jack Reacher films someday. As it turns out, Johnson was almost cast the last time around:
Yup, luv the character. Bout 10yrs ago I went after the role, but Cruise got it. Was great motivation for me to always stay hungry. https://t.co/bwpZfEVIMm
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) April 12, 2017
Of course, there’s no knowing how far Johnson got into the process — he might’ve been politely turned down months before Cruise was cast — but let’s run with this a little. Fans could make a case that Dwayne Johnson would’ve been a much better and much worse fit for Lee Child’s character. On the one hand, Johnson does share the impressive physicality of Reacher, who is described in the books as pushing six-and-a-half feet tall while also weighing 250 pounds. When the first film was released, Child spoke to The Washington Post about the casting process, noting that it was “completely impossible to find a physical facsimile of Jack Reacher in Hollywood.” Johnson’s height and weight? Six feet, four inches, and 260 pounds. Doesn’t sound so completely impossible to me, Lee.
So Johnson would’ve been a physical match, but would the actor have been able to play the part? Johnson can be a gifted dramatic actor when given a chance — though, these days, he mostly variates between action figures and lunkheads with a sense of humor — so it’s not as if Johnson would’ve been bad in the role. But remember, Reacher is a character so deeply scarred by his past that he chooses to move through life as a drifter, bouncing from location to location without putting down any roots. Could Johnson have adopted Reacher’s world-weary attitude? I’m guessing that’s one point in Tom Cruise’s favor.
So! Johnson or Cruise? Cruise or Johnson? Let me split the baby in two: wait ten years, then reboot the franchise with a middle-aged Dwayne Johnson and everyone wins. Or maybe we have Cruise and Johnson fight it out? Now that is an idea we can all get behind.