Every die-hard fan of the Lee Child books knows that Jack Reacher needs to be enormous. The character is a wandering tank, a physical specimen who doesn’t doubt himself in virtually any confrontation because he’s simply stronger, beefier, and more durable than any antagonist. I picked up on cool visual tricks the directors have been doing for the TV show Reacher – available now with an Amazon Prime Video subscription – to make leading man Alan Ritchson appear to tower over co-stars. But according to the show’s villain, this isn’t necessary, because Ritchson’s bigger than a Terminator.
Robert Patrick should know. He famously went toe-to-toe with Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, still one of the best sci-fi films ever created. Patrick hasn’t scrapped with Alan Ritchson in Reacher yet, though the end of episode 7 suggests they’re about to chuck knuckles. So during an exclusive interview with Patrick on behalf of Reacher, I asked him to compare Ritchson to Ah-nold, and the veteran actor told CinemaBlend:
Alan's bigger. Don't tell Arnold I said that. . But right now, Alan in his present state and age, he's bigger. … Alan encompasses a lot of similarities in the size of his massiveness of muscle gain. And he moves very well. And Arnold moves very well. They're both athletic guys.
The physicality of Jack Reacher is tantamount to the creation of the character on screen. It’s a big part of the reason why Tom Cruise was rejected by fans in the role. And it might be the reason why executives at Skydance didn’t want Cruise to receive a letter of appreciation Ritchson wrote to the A-lister. That whole situation continues to be bizarre.
I did manage to ask Alan Ritchson earlier this season if he somehow was paying homage to Robert Patrick’s T-1000 with the way he deliberately walked as Reacher. To my untrained eye, Ritchson resembled a Terminator moving on to his next kill in some Reacher scenes from Season 2. When I brought this up to Patrick, he responded:
Alan and I never talked about that. I mean, he’s certainly got a lot to deal with. He never brought it up, but I mean, that's the smart way to go. It's what I did as a young actor when I started thinking about T2, creating the T-1000, and that all happened in an audition with James Cameron. I was left to think up, on my own, ‘Well, how do you demonstrate this if you can't articulate it verbally? And how do you encompass this physically, to project what you're trying to do with the character?’ So if he did, I was unaware of it. He never mentioned it to me, but that's what I took. And that's something that James and I had thought about several times and had talked about and mentioned. Especially when I was, as the T-1000, riding the motorcycle through all that debris in slow motion. He was like a shark, swimming through the fog of the smoke.
Reacher Season 2 is lining up an explosive finale, which will arrive on Amazon Prime Video on Friday. The good news beyond that is that Alan Ritchson already is filming on Reacher Season 3, even though he’s hesitant to tell us the book on which they will base the next story. Don’t ask Maria Sten, either. She’s holding those cards close to her vest. Maybe we will find out once Season 2 wraps. Fingers crossed.