Tom Cruise Talks Jack Reacher Casting

Exclusive: 'I'm very sensitive to it.'

There are casting calls so controversial that they look likely to reduce the internet to a smoking wasteland of charred avatars and ashen memes. Michael Keaton as Batman, Daniel Craig as Bond, The Last Airbender... that kind of thing. It's fair to say that the choice of Tom Cruise to play Lee Child's towering do-gooder Jack Reacher in One Shot has smoke pouring out of the web again.

With the movie currently filming in Pittsburgh, Empire tracked the man down to ask about the farrago. "Firstly, I'm very sensitive to it," Cruise explained, revealing that Child came to watch his readings. "This is Lee's book and Lee's character. Him giving me his blessing is what made me do it. If he hadn't then I wouldn't have done it."

And what of the discrepancy in height, Cruise giving away more than a few inches to the clock-brained legend? "Lee told me that the reason he wrote him that size (6' 5") is because that was just one element to his character, and that opened the door to me playing him."

As Cruise himself is quick to point out, he's no stranger to controversial casting. His pick to play Lestat in Neil Jordan's Interview With The Vampire may have been pre-trolling, but it still caused a stink with fans of Anne Rice's novel - and, briefly, with the writer herself.

No-one should doubt the actor's commitment to the role, though. "Reacher is such a great character," he enthused. "He doesn't have a cell phone, he doesn't have email. He's off the grid. He pays for things in cash. People look at things through the prism of the colours of their life, but Jack Reacher does things the way we want to sometimes. In that sense he's sort of a Dirty Harry, a James Bond, a Josey Wales."

Pick up a copy of Empire's December issue from Thursday for more from Cruise on One Shot and its mythical, head-punching protagonist.