By Leah Mize
Alan Ritchson is Jack Reacher from the physical build to the humor and levity brought to the Amazon Original series, set to premiere on Feb. 4.
Viewers follow Reacher through eight episodes of puzzling events as he investigates the peculiar goings-on in Margrave, Georgia. The first season is based off of Lee Child’s first Reacher novel, Killing Floor, making this story familiar for Reacher fans.
“I loved Killing Floor,” said Ritchson, in an interview with the Minaret “I totally understood why there’s such an international fascination with this character.”
The character of Reacher is a former major in the U.S. Army who travels through American cities to privately investigate mysterious circumstances. He profiles with an ease that’s reminiscent of Criminal Minds, and uses his “propensity for violence” as Ritchson says, to escape harrowing situations he finds himself in.
“He’s often the smartest guy in the room, often the most physically imposing, that kind of confidence gives him dimension,” said Ritchson. “I think that’s why he’s so beloved.”
At 6’2, Ritchson is the perfect Reacher. This dominating physicality was missing from the previous cinematic portrayal by Tom Cruise. With over one hundred million books sold globally, according to Forbes, any news about the cherished former military policeman reaches a large fanbase.
Ritchson is no stranger to portraying well-known characters on the big screen as his filmography includes Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in 2014, a role he reprised for the sequel in 2016.
“Anytime hundreds of people have an opinion on the characters you’re playing, there’s some pressure there,” said Ritchson. “I’m as much of a fan as anybody else but part of my job is to block that out.”
According to Ritchson, Nick Santora, the showrunner, authentically adapted the series. It was his vision of the show that solidified his trust in the project. Santora’s dedication toward his original vision for the show kept the series together through the various stages of pre-production, filming, and post-production.
“[The show] ended up in a place where every fan of the books will unanimously agree that we got it right,” said Ritchson. “The expectations were met.”
While book-to-screen adaptations have built-in fan bases, the challenge is appealing to those who are meeting Reacher for the first time. People who have never read the books are going to enjoy the series, according to Ritchson. He says the show is good television regardless of the fact the stories already exist in print.
“This show is fully entertaining,” said Ritchson. “It’s not something that takes itself too seriously.”
The humor, encouraged by Santora, sets Ritchson’s Reacher apart from Cruise. His humor and power combine for an interesting character, according to Ritchson. Reacher doesn’t take himself too seriously and that levity makes it a fun show as Ritchson says.
“It’s a funny show,” said Ritchson. “I hear that the mystery, trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together is one of the things that people enjoy the most.”
Reacher will be available to stream this Friday on Prime Video.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Prime Video.