I thought it would be much easier to select a favorite fictional BadA$$ character, but it wasn’t…AT ALL.
The thing is, I have several favorites. I have already shared my love of Larry McMurty’s Lonesome Dove characters Augustus McCrae and Capt. Woodrow Call. I love me some good ole boys! Especially some that have a certain code they live by– hang a man for thieve’n and murder’n, yet they’ll sneak across the border to steal cattle for their own outfit. I love the Capt’s rough exterior and disciplined work ethic-I wouldn’t want to annoy him and yet…I really loved how Gus was just as able to work but appreciated the finer things in life–like drinking, women and driving Capt. Call crazy with his joking around. Both the Capt. and Gus have qualities that are badass and endear them to me–they leave me day dreaming of having my very own cowboy. *cue Kasey Chambers “Pony”*
I also have a a huge dysfunctional crush on Mario Puzo’s gangster Michael Corleone. In the book, it was Michael all the way though in the movie adaptation of The Godfather , I was in love with the elder brother Sonny Corleone. In a big way, my love of gangsters has led to some of my more recent fiction crushes, like my newest favorite badass, Jack Winter from Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London Series or Terrible from Stacia Kane’s Downside Series. I think it is the confidence and power the characters exude–after all, confidence is very sexy. But, underneath that tough exterior is a very insecure, hurt and often vulnerable character. Isn’t that what most girls love….the idea that they could “change” a man. “Sure, he’s a criminal and a killer….but underneath he is a cute little puppy that I can train!” Don’t even act like you don’t know what I’m talking about ladies…it’s what I refer to it as the “stray dog syndrome” and I am an expert–just ask my parents;).
Cowboys and gangsters aside, I think my all time favorite fictional bad @ss has to be Lee Child’s thrilling character Jack Reacher. Jack is smart and tough like Corleone, hard working like Capt. Call and has a sense of adventure like Gus. I guess you could say he has all the elements that I find sexy and intriguing. With sixteen books so far in this series, it is safe to say that the appeal of the character is not going away…at least not anytime soon. Especially with the book “One Shot” optioned for film. Paramount Pictures has secured Christopher McQuarrie (Oscar winner for The Usual Suspects) to write a new screenplay for “One Shot.” McQuarrie may also direct but that has yet to be confirmed. Lee Child’s website says…
“Lee got a call from producer Don Granger at the movie studio, and things seem to be very positive and optimistic … we’re very close to seeing One Shot greenlighted, he thinks. Christopher McQuarrie’s screenplay is an absolute knockout, he says … and they had a preliminary casting conversation. Details are still confidential, of course, but some very interesting names were mentioned. Fingers crossed”
|Author Lee Child
So why Jack Reacher? Well…let me give you some stats and faqs on the character as per Lee Child’s website and wikipedia:
Name: Jack Reacher (no middle name)
Born: October 29th
Measurements: 6’5″, 220-250 lbs., 50″ chest
Eyes: Ice blue
Clothing: 3XLT coat, 95 cm. pants’ inseam
Reacher is a giant, standing at 6′ 5″ tall (1.96m) with a 50-inch chest, and weighing between 220 and 250 pounds (100–115 kg). He has ice-blue eyes and dirty blond hair. He has very little body fat and his muscular physique is completely natural (he reveals in Persuader, he has never been an exercise enthusiast.) He is exceptionally strong but is not a good runner. Reacher is strong enough to break a man’s neck with one hand (Bad Luck and Trouble) and kill a villain with a single punch to the head (61 Hours) or chest (Worth Dying For). In a fight against a 7 foot, 400 lb steroid using thug, Reacher was able to lift his opponent into the air and drop him on his head.
In TRIPWIRE, a character noted Jacks appearance: “His lazy lopsided grin. His tousled hair. His arms, so long they gave him a greyhound’s grace even though he was built like the side of a house. His eyes, cold icy blue like the Arctic. His hands, giant battered mitts that bunched into fists the size of footballs.” Reacher has a scar on his arm where his brother, Joe, struck him with a retaliatory chisel.
In fact, Reacher has multiple scars, most notably a scar on his abdomen caused by a bombing in Lebanon. He also has a 3-4 inch thin white scar that intersects his shrapnel scar that he received during a knife fight with Al-Qaeda operative Lila Hoth. Reacher mentions how the rough stitch work from his existing scar helped decrease the severity of his most recent attack. However, the cut did produce a deep, serious gash that led to Reacher passing out from blood loss. He also has a scar on his chest from a .38 bullet, a tear drop burn scar from close range gun shot that crossed his chest at point blank range, and the one on his arm from his youth.
Reacher left home at 18, graduated from West Point. Performed 13 years of Army service, demoted from Major to Captain in 1990, mustered out with the rank of Major in 1997.
As a drifter, the only belongings he carries are money, a foldable toothbrush and, after 9/11, an expired passport. He wears his clothing for 2–3 days before discarding it, usually purchasing new clothing cheaply from chain outlets. He has no steady income and lives on savings in his bank account and part time jobs. At various points during the series, his bank account is supplemented by taking money from his enemies (this occurs most notably in Bad Luck and Trouble).
In KILLING FLOOR it is revealed that he has a love for music, especially blues music. It was this affinity for the blues that inspired Reacher to get off the bus at the start of Killing Floor and catapulted him into the resulting story. It is also in this novel that Reacher’s internal monologue reveals that he has a music collection in his head, which he listens to.
What Jack Reacher doesn’t have: A driver’s license, Federal benefits (doesn’t want them), tax returns (doesn’t do them; he hasn’t filed taxes since he left the Army).
Don’t tell me that’s not kind of sexy. Sure he doesn’t slay dragons or is an immortal demigod, vampire, shifter of some sort, but this character is sexy and badass in very real and believable ways. He is the type of guy you want around when things turn south and although he’s not immortal he always manages to get out of some pretty scary situations and land on his feet. *sigh* My Hero!
Want to know what my mental picture of Jack Reacher is? Well, my first choice is none other than…
I realize that the dashing Mr. Craig is fairly booked up with landing the other film adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO but…Daniel Craig’s look is nearly exactly how I see Jack Reacher. Now, in the spirit of new and different, how about this…
|Alexander Skarsgard in Generation Kill
Alexander Skarsgard could play a more youthful Jack Reacher. He is definitely tall and shares the same coloring as Jack. He could buff up a bit more for the role if need be and he has proven he has the acting chops…PLUS Skarsgard has that whole European thing going for him. I can see him as Reacher.
Another actor I could totally see playing Jack Reacher is Mr. Jason Lewis. At 40 years old he is closer to Reachers age and like Skarsgard, Lewis is over 6’1 with similar coloring. Any of these incredible actors have my vote to play Jack Reacher on the big screen.
What do you think? Have you read Lee Child’s books…if so, who would you cast as Jack Reacher?
*Edited to add: I totally forgot to add another picture of an actor that more accurately meets the physical description of Jack Reacher — Mr. Dolph Lundgren. He was known for his height and physique. At 6’5, he totally could be Reacher, at least from the back, plus he is definitely built like a house.
|Dolph Lundgren with “tousled hair”