Monday 11 November 2019

Lee Child says Birmingham bullies inspired Tom Cruise fight scene

The fight was recreated in his book One Shot and the film Jack Reacher.

Lee Child
Lee Child

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Author Lee Child has spoken about a childhood run-in with school bullies in Birmingham which inspired a scene performed by Tom Cruise in a film adaptation of his books about military cop Jack Reacher.

The writer, whose real name is Jim Page, grew up in Birmingham and has spoken about how his life in the city informed his best-selling novels about a transient and tough former army policeman, played by Cruise in two films.

Child told BBC Inside Out West Midlands he once took on five school bullies in an alley when he was nine years old.

He said: “I hit the leader of the gang, knocked him down, then two of his friends piled in and the other two ran away. I really remembered that – you never fight five people, two of them will always run away – as bad as it gets it’s only one against three.

“So I put that in the book One Shot literally word-for-word, all from me being nine years old. It made it in the first movie in that famous scene with Tom Cruise outside the sports bar fighting five guys and that was written from life right here.”

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back – European Premiere – London

He also spoke of the moment he was inspired by Reacher in real life and came to the rescue of a New York taxi driver who was being harassed on the street.

He said: “The guy ended up horizontal on the sidewalk and the cab drove off and I went home.”

Child also revealed he weaves in references to his favourite football team Aston Villa in his books, saying: “Partly it saves me the effort of dreaming up names and partly it’s homage.

Jack Reacher Premiere – London

“The only one I’ve only not used is (Gordon) Cowans. He was my absolute favourite player and he’s too precious for me to use.”

Inside Out West Midlands is on BBC on September 11 at 7.30pm.

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