Posted on Tuesday, May 29th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
This became apparent last week when images of studio ad banners (seen above and below) started to come out of Cannes, but now the change is official: Paramount has changed the name of Christopher McQuarrie‘s new Tom Cruise action/thriller from One Shot to Jack Reacher.
The film is an adaptation of Lee Child‘s novel One Shot. It stars Cruise as Child’s persistent hero Jack Reacher, a former Army MP who wanders the US, finding one unlikely and typically violent adventure after another. One Shot is the ninth Reacher book, and the name change is very likely meant to draw in potential viewers who’ve read one of the Reacher adventures, but might not spark to the specific title of this source novel.
THR announces the name change, noting that Cruise was calling the film Reacher at CinemaCon, which led to previous speculation about a title change. The film also stars Werner Herzog as the villain, and Rosamund Pike, Robert Duvall, Richard Jenkins and Michael Raymond-James in supporting roles. It opens on December 21 of this year.
Reactions to the footage shown at CinemaCon have me still very much looking forward to this adaptation, despite the questions around Cruise playing Reacher. I have to stick with my general outlook on adaptations being more interesting when they take chances or have the courage to diverge from the source. And while casting Tom Cruise is hardly a big risk, generally speaking, in this case it counts.
From what I’ve heard of the CinemaCon footage, there’s at least one big sequence, where a local girl attempts to seduce and entrap Reacher, that plays out almost just as it does in the book. But there’s a difference: the books feature a lot of explanation of how specific violent encounters will play out, according to certain internally-established rules of engagement. And in the film, it sounds like Reacher vocalizes some of those points, as much for the audience’s benefit as to intimidate his opponents. That’s a change that could go either way — a bit like the way that the Sherlock Holmes films pre-visualize fights to show us how Holmes is approaching them.
There’s also a car chase sequence that was invented for the film, and that’s fine, too. Much of the novel sees Reacher on foot, eluding cops that are after him. While that works on the page, it isn’t as promising on the screen, and so I can see the reason that some of those sequences would be swapped out in favor of a more action-oriented encounters. I would have liked to see McQuarrie engage the challenge of replicating the on-foot stuff, but I’m hardly surprised that it didn’t all go that way.
Click the image below for a closer look at Cruise as a dirty, battered Jack Reacher. Though he primarily looks like a dirty, battered Tom Cruise.