Jack Reacher fans feel short changed with Cruise in starring role
For devotees of Jack Reacher, the hulking anti-hero created by bestselling writer Lee Child, his big screen debut this month played by a Hollywood superstar would seem to be a cause for celebration.
But many "Reacher creatures", as his ardent fans refer to themselves, are seething because they believe the actor cast to fill the tough guy's size 13 boots does not measure up to the part.
The fictional character is an unkempt giant of a man, 6ft 5in tall and tipping the scales at more than 15 stone (220lbs), with a 50in chest, ice-blue eyes and messy blond hair, who deploys his size to advantage in his frequent fights.
In the new film, however, the ex-US military policeman is portrayed by Tom Cruise, a clean-cut heart-throb who is 5ft 7in and is widely reported to have worn hidden shoe platforms for photographs alongside his former wives and leading ladies.
Aficionados of the series of 17 novels, which have sold 60 million copies worldwide, are venting their dismay in caustic comments about the actor's stature, immaculate locks and well-groomed looks ahead of the world premier of Jack Reacher in London next week.
On a mocking Facebook page entitled "Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher", one recent poster compared the choice for the eponymous title role to casting Ronnie Corbett, the diminutive bespectacled comedian, as James Bond.
Another observed witheringly: "Reacher would pick Cruise up, dangle him out in front of him and then slam him up against the wall with his feet scrabbling away about 2ft off the ground."
But Cruise has an ardent defender in the shape of the writer who introduced the looming proportions of Reacher to the world in his first book 15 years ago.
In an interview with Britian's Sunday Telegraph, Lee Child made clear that Cruise should not be sold short for his performance in the film, which opens at cinemas later this month.
"It is puzzling and a little disappointing to me that people are attacking Tom Cruise when they have not seen the movie," said Child, who had no input on the casting and no formal role in the adaptation of his 2005 novel One Shot.
"Jack Reacher is physically specific to the books," he said. "The fact is that there are no actors who are 6ft 5in giants out there so he was never going to be played by an actor that size.
"I have seen the film and Cruise is terrific, he really nails Reacher. They should give it a chance. When they watch the movie, they might find it odd for the first few moments, but then they'll be sucked in."
© Sunday Telegraph