Out doing the publicity rounds for his chess thriller Pawn Sacrifice, Ed Zwick is inevitably fielding plenty of questions about Jack Reacher 2. Paramount officially announced the Tom Cruise-starring sequel a week or so ago in the wake of Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’s box office triumph. But, reveals Zwick, the green light for Reacher’s second screen adventure was an example of good timing rather than cause and effect: more was already on the way.
“The [first Jack Reacher] movie performed, but not as well as they hoped,” Zwick explains to Collider, “but they found in ancillary markets it performed and people just kept on buying it and streaming it and it sort of went through the roof. It had a bit of a long tail. So they were already in the process of—I’d already begun work on this, writing the draft, long before [Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation] came out.”
Zwick also confirms that the basis of the film is still the 18th of Lee Child’s novels, Never Go Back, as was the case when a sequel was first mooted back in 2012. That story sees Reacher heading back to his old military base in Virginia, to be charged with a violent incident and faced with a paternity case, neither of which transgression he remembers.
The film will be a loose adaptation, however, taking some tangents. And while there won’t be anything as spectacular as Cruise hanging off the side of a plane – Reacher isn’t that kind of hero – the director promises one action sequence in particular to watch out for.
“The nice thing about the franchise to me is that it’s almost an anthology,” Zwick believes. “Reacher gets involved in something very different in each of those books with a different cast of characters and a different set of circumstances of things that happen to him. I like to think this will satisfy those who really like the character, but they will see him and see this very much as a standalone movie as each of them hopes to be.”
Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz have been at work on their own draft of the screenplay, and shooting starts, slightly earlier than previously reported, in New Orleans in October.
On working with Tom Cruise again for Jack Reacher 2:
“We had a great experience together. He is one of those actors who is unbelievably hard working and willing. And this happens to be another genre that I’ve never worked in before and I thought, okay, let’s try that. I want to keep challenging myself in different ways but it’s really good to be in the context of a relationship that you know and that you’ve had a good time with.”
On whether or not the new Jack Reacher film will be darker or retain some of the humor from the original:
“I hope this will have both. I really think that… It’s going to be a very different movie than the last one. Because there is a nice sort of anthology possibility to a continuing character like that, it’s a whole different world; different set of circumstances that he finds himself in. So it will be a different movie and I hope a stand alone movie.”