Playing Jack Reacher For Amazon Has Been Alan Ritchson's Favorite Role To Date

"Reacher" season 2 is almost upon us, which means we'll soon get another batch of episodes full of the same over-the-top action that made the first season so popular. Amazon Prime Video have a bonafide hit on their hands with "Reacher," bringing Lee Child's popular book series to the small screen for the first time and wowing fans in the process. Unsurprisingly, anticipation is high for its return, especially since star Alan Ritchson finally delivered a book-accurate version of the titular former Army policeman.

Ritchson, who prior to filming gained 30 pounds to add to his already impressive 205-pound frame, has clearly taken his lead role seriously, telling Empire, "I read all 24 books before filming, and the first one twice, so by the time we were filming, I was such a huge fan. I was so in love with Reacher." That dedication seems to have contributed to the show's success, with Amazon renewing "Reacher" just three days after the first eight episodes dropped on Prime Video back in February 2022.

Prior to his starring role in the streaming adaptation of Lee Child's wildly popular book series, Ritchson had found some success in both TV and film. He appeared as Gloss in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," before portraying Raphael in the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" reboot movies of 2014 and 2016. On the small screen he's known for playing Hawk on "Titans" and for his early role as Arthur Curry/Aquaman on "Smallville." Now, it seems Ritchson has begun something of a love affair with Jack Reacher.

'I've really fallen in love'

Considering "Reacher" has been a massive success, it's odd to think Amazon originally didn't want to cast Alan Ritchson. The actor had to go through a protracted process to land the role, initially reading an early script that barely had him saying any lines. It was that first audition that Amazon originally passed on, but once the script had been reworked, Ritchson came back in and finally got the job.

Showrunner Nick Santora spoke to /Film about casting Ritchson, saying, "It was a great group decision. What I loved about what Alan did was that Reacher has a way to exude intelligence without saying anything. And he does it with a look, or he does it with a glance and a slow observation, a turn of the head, something like that." And it's a good thing that group decision was made, as not only did "Reacher" become a hit, Ritchson got to play his favorite role yet.

As the actor told Collider:

"I've really fallen in love. I've read the books now and Reacher has some big shoes to fill, metaphorically speaking. I'm just so thrilled to be a part of it. It's my favorite character that I've played yet. I was overwhelmed when I found out that it had gone my way. It had been months of pursuing it and campaigning and just continuing to fight the fight [...] it was overwhelming to find out, for sure. It's a big character and a huge property, so it's not lost on me, what it is. I'm thrilled."

Fans are similarly convinced. Having been underwhelmed by Tom Cruise's portrayal of Jack Reacher in two movies, they now have a book-accurate version of their beloved character and Ritchson has his favorite role to date.

Ritchson genuinely loves the role

"Reacher" is the result of several production companies coming together to bring Lee Child's novels into the age of streaming. While the show sits on Amazon's Prime Video platform it's produced by Amazon Studios, Skydance Television, and Paramount Television Studios, and is overseen by multiple producers. Child himself is an executive producer alongside Scott Sullivan, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Marcy Ross, and Don Granger. And according to Child, it was Granger, a longtime friend of Child's, who sealed the deal when he told the author Alan Ritchson was the man for the job.

Ritchson went on to tell Collider more about the process of landing the role and dealing with the many producers and companies involved:

"There are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. There are a lot of different studios and different producers and executives. I've been in the business for a long time, but you just don't know everybody. There's a level of educating people as to who you are and convincing people that you're the guy. It was a lot of work and my team did a really great job. My manager had a huge hand in that."

Thankfully, the actor was seemingly propelled by a genuine love for the material. As he told /Film in 2022, "I picked up the books and I got it instantly. I understand, even just after reading 'Killing Floor,' the first book in this series, why this crosses so many international borders [...] It's something I'm honored and grateful to play."

With the first season proving so popular and "Reacher" season 2 set to adapt the 11th Jack Reacher book "Bad Luck And Trouble," there'll be plenty more chances for Ritchson to showcase his love for the character in the near future.