The second thing was Hollywood. I'm not saying that they work with formula, but they have beliefs. They have an industry standard where the character has to go on a journey — in other words, he's a different person at the end of the movie than he was at the beginning of the movie. The key feature with Reacher is that he never changes; he's not on a journey; he doesn't become a different person. . . . Where is the redemption?

[A film] is like fantasy baseball, where you have to put people on the field who all play the same game. Right from the start, we had a producer who totally got it. Then, it was a question of lining up the other people who totally got it. That took a long time.

IF NOT TOM CRUISE, WHO WOULD YOU SEE IN THE ROLE OF REACHER? It's about who is the best actor, technically speaking—who's got the best acting chops? It's as simple as that. In order to get a movie actually made, you've got a small list of people that you can pick from. They need to be the A-list stars. So, which of the A-list stars is the best actor?

Well, actually they are all pretty good. If you really look at it with a professional eye, ignore everything else, ignore the superstar bullshit, and the tabloid stuff, and the public images and that kind of thing. If you focus on skill, Tom Cruise is the best actor of his generation. That's my honest opinion as a professional. I've worked in television before. I've worked with actors all the time. I'm very familiar with those judgments, and he is the best actor of his generation.

I think he is much more than people understand. He's a chameleon. He will fit the role much more than you think he will, much more than most stars will. Then you're left with the fact that physically Tom Cruise does not resemble Reacher as written in the book. In my judgment, there are a thousand things that you have to worry about in a movie and that is not one of them. It's ridiculous. You're listening to people argue that this guy who is seven inches shorter than Reacher is much better than this guy who is eight inches shorter.

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