“Jack Reacher is an archetypal American hero and a modern day ronin: he’s traded a life of rules and structure to live this nomadic life, free of emotional attachments and responsibilities.”
Since 1997, readers have been riveted by the exploits of Jack Reacher, who first appeared in the pages of author Lee Child’s “Killing Floor” and continued on in a series now spanning twenty novels.
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns to the big screen with his particular brand of justice in the highly anticipated, action-packed sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
The film follows Reacher as he races to uncover the truth about active duty soldiers, once under his command, who are being killed.
Years after resigning command of an elite military police unit, the nomadic, righter-of-wrongs Reacher is drawn back into the life he left behind when his friend and successor, Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is framed for espionage. Reacher will stop at nothing to prove her innocence and to expose the real perpetrators behind the killings of his former soldiers.
Based upon Lee Child’s 18th novel in the best-selling Jack Reacher series, that has seen 100 million books sold worldwide, the film was directed by Edward Zwick from a screenplay by Richard Wenk and Edward Zwick & Marshall Herskovitz.
Producer Don Granger brought the hit series to Tom Cruise’s attention, which led to Cruise starring and producing 2012’s Jack Reacher, an adaptation of the Child’s ninth Reacher novel “One Shot” that went on to gross over $200 million in worldwide box office.
After the success of Jack Reacher, producers immediately started developing the next film, basing it on “Never Go Back,” a more recent book in the series.
“The great thing about the Jack Reacher novels is that they’re not chronological,” Granger explains. “There’s not a lot of continuity that you need to be familiar with to enjoy the story. With the exception of Reacher and his toothbrush, there are very few characters that carry over from book to book.”
Child describes the lasting appeal of his character: “Reacher is a modern iteration of the mysterious stranger. The American paradigm is the Western, where a mysterious rider comes in off the range, sorts out the problem, and rides off into the sunset, but this character is universal. Medieval Europe had the knight-errant, and feudal Japan had the ronin – banished knights forced to wander the land, doing good deeds.”
Appropriately, director and co-writer Edward Zwick previously worked with Tom Cruise in 2003’s The Last Samurai.
“I immediately connected with this story and this character,” says Zwick. “Jack Reacher is an archetypal American hero and a modern day ronin: he’s traded a life of rules and structure to live this nomadic life, free of emotional attachments and responsibilities.”
“There’s a wish fulfillment in a character like Reacher,” says co-writer Marshall Herskovitz. “We all want to be somebody who’s going to stand up to the bad guys, and Reacher is this one man retaliatory force for justice. He’s on his own and he doesn’t take crap from anybody.”
Despite their wide variety of film and television work, frequent collaborators Zwick and Herskovitz had yet to tackle the crime thriller. “It’s not the kind of thing you’d expect us to write,” Zwick admits. “But I’d always wanted to do a crime thriller because I’m fascinated by the detective genre, from the classics by Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler to the more contemporary sensibility that Lee brings. I’ve done things with a lot of action and I’ve done things that are more character based, so when Tom approached me and had me read the book, I saw an opportunity to put it all together. This genre can really be a lot of fun.”
“I was excited when Ed said yes,” says producer and star Tom Cruise. “Ed and I have been looking for something to do together ever since The Last Samurai. I have such admiration for Ed as a writer and a filmmaker. You look at his movies; he fully immerses you in a time and a place. That is what I love about movies: feeling the texture of the characters and the environment that they’re in that Ed captures so well.”“Ed was our first and only choice to direct this movie,” offers Granger. “If you look at his past films, Glory, The Last Samurai, or Defiance there’s no doubt that Ed can direct a brawny action film with scope, energy and excitement, but in all of his work, Ed is a humanist. You remember him for his characters.”
“What drew us to “Never Go Back” over other Reacher novels were the character dynamics between Reacher, Turner and Samantha,” Granger explains.
“All three are fiercely independent loners, and we wanted to explore what happens when those kinds of people are forced to work together. Ed’s great at bringing those type of character relationships to the screen.”
“Never Go Back is unique in that it’s not primarily a stunt movie; it’s a character piece,” muses Tom Cruise. “Even so, Reacher as a character has his own very unique brutality.”
“For me, filmmaking is all about collaboration,” Cruise sums up. “If we’re all working towards the common goal of making absolute best movie we can, that in itself is valuable. If the people I work with have a good experience, I’ll probably get to work with them again. Same goes for audiences. When we make a great movie that the audience connects with, we get to make another one. I hope people love this movie, because we loved making it.”