Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Shares The Character's Penchant For Mouthing Off

Jack Reacher doesn't say a lot. Author Lee Child envisioned his bulky former Army officer as a man of few words — a laconic hero who wanders the US after leaving the Army behind and who can't help running into trouble. Thus far, he's done just that 28 times, if you count the number of books Child has churned out. And while all of those stories have Reacher overcoming impossible odds and fighting his way through harrowing scenarios, there's also some humor peppered throughout the pages of the Jack Reacher novels.

In fact, it was Reacher's atypical sense of humor which appealed to Alan Ritchson, star of Amazon Prime Video's incredibly popular "Reacher" series. Ritchson has spoken about the benefits of "Reacher" being a streaming series rather than a film, as it has allowed him and the writers to explore more aspects of the characters and tell a fully fleshed-out story. And part of crafting a multi-dimensional character in Reacher has been ensuring the show doesn't just portray him as a silent, Terminator-esque, hitman capable of dispatching gangs of enemies with ease — though, that actually sounds pretty cool, honestly.

Instead, "Reacher" took cues from Child's novels and infused some of that atypical sense of humor into its protagonist. And while that often takes the form of a quip here and there, sometimes it manifests as just straight-up mouthing off. When he's confronted by a group of four would-be attackers early in the season, he can't help but tell them he's going to, "break the hands of three drunk kids," only for them to point out there's four of them, before Reacher responds with, "One of you's got to drive to the hospital." And it turns out, Ritchson himself shares that proclivity for mouthing off.

'A bit of a wise ass'

"Reacher" season 1 was absurdly good fun mainly for its all-out action sequences and pulpy tone. But there was a lightheartedness to the whole thing that helped make the gruesome murder scenes and hard-hitting combat a little more palatable. When the hulking protagonist stops mid-investigation to question a cow about why his owner is buying him so much animal feed, it lightens the tone enough to make the often gruesome violence go down easier.

Often these moments come in the form of Reacher teasing his de facto colleagues, Willa Fitzgerald's Roscoe Conklin and Malcolm Goodwin's Oscar Finlay. After the latter faces down businessman Kliner in a tense, expletive-filled exchange, Reacher can't help but tell him on the way out that, "Cursing is a sign of a weak mind and a weaker character." It's all part of what makes Reacher, Reacher. And star Alan Ritchson shares an affinity for such wisecracks.

Talking to Black Film and TV, the actor was asked about how he and his character are the same, replying with the following:

"We have our similarities. I think he's somebody who enjoys kind of messing with people and is a bit of a wise ass. I've got foot in mouth disease, you know? We diverge a little bit where I care very much about what people think of me, and I want people to feel safe and secure around me, and I don't think Reacher gives a s***."

Keep the wisecracks coming

It's interesting to hear that Alan Ritchson sees a similarity between himself and Reacher in the sense that they're both "wise asses" who enjoy "messing with people." The actor isn't particularly known for that trait, and actually comes across as one of the more non-threatening action stars of today. When he isn't taking out an entire prison gang in brutal fashion as Reacher, he can be found extolling the virtues of Christian faith and grappling with questions about what it means to be "a good citizen of the US."

Either way, it will be interesting to see how the writers and Ritchson maintain Reacher's sense of humor and penchant for mouthing off in "Reacher" season 2. The second run of episodes looks set to step things up both in terms of scope and stakes, which might mean the levity takes a back seat. It's already been confirmed that season 2 will adapt the 11th Jack Reacher novel, "Bad Luck and Trouble," which sees the titular ex-military police officer hunting down whoever it is that's killing members of his former squad. In other words, the next installment of "Reacher," which wrapped filming in February, will feel a lot more personal.

But as Ritchson himself said in his Black Film and TV interview, "This show has a sense of humor to it, and I think that's why in a large part it sets it apart and why I think a lot of people will enjoy this." With that in mind, the writers would do well to ensure Reacher maintains his habit of mouthing off, even as he pursues his personal vendetta. Which shouldn't actually be all that difficult, considering Lee Child managed to do just that throughout his 28 novels.