From The New York Times bestselling author Lee Child comes one of the most compelling heroes to step from novel to screen – ex-military investigator Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). When a gunman takes five lives with six shots, all evidence points to the suspect in custody. On interrogation, the suspect offers up a single note: “Get Jack Reacher!” So begins a chase for the truth, pitting Jack Reacher against an unexpected enemy, with a skill for violence and a secret to keep. Opening in cinemas on December 21st in the US and December 26th in the UK, ‘Jack Reacher’ co-stars Rosamund Pike, Richard Jenkins, Robert Duvall, David Oyelowo, Jai Courtney, and Werner Herzog. Christopher McQuarrie is directing from a script he penned.

How would you describe the character of Jack Reacher?

Tom Cruise: For me, he’s an analogue character in a digital age. He’s very human, but he has a level of competence in various areas. Reacher has an independence that allows him to have an objectivity that most people don’t in certain environments or in their lives. He’s someone who wants to live his life with freedom, but he’s a guy who gets pulled into situations because of his curiosity, his sense of what’s right, and also because he is so capable mentally and physically – that carries with it a responsibility.

And what was it about this script and story that particularly appealed to you? You’d read Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novel series, right?

Tom Cruise: Yeah. I’ve read all the books, so I thought I knew the character quite well. Chris McQuarrie is an incredible screenwriter and an amazing film director. It’s such an incredible character and an incredible story. The writing is my favourite kind of writing, it has a very unique and Christopher McQuarrie-esq voice. The adventure has wit, the characters have wit. I think when people see this film they’re going to be surprised by the level of humour it has, and also the twists and the turns. It’s a film that takes you into a world, it’s got such great characters, an ensemble of great characters – played by great actors. It’s a unique action-adventure kind of film, that’s enormously entertaining. There was a lot that appealed to me.

In the film, while Reacher has incredible fighting abilities, he’s cool-headed and a reluctant fighter….

Tom Cruise: Yeah. The fight outside the bar, he doesn’t want to do what he has to do. It’s something where it’s like, “Look, remember, you asked for this.” (Laughs) And he gets pushed into a position, it’s not machismo, he’s forced into these situations. Reacher, because of his training, ex-military police, he’s someone who sees a dark side of life – and to the extreme. But he has an incredible mind, he doesn’t forget anything. But he also has a great physical ability coupled with the mental. But he is incredibly cool-headed, he’s a man who aims to do the honorable thing.

With that action, you’re doing it much of it yourself. How was that experience, especially considering Jack Reacher’s such an intense and physical character? 

Tom Cruise: When you see the action it’s happening. Chris and I talked forever how each fight had to be distinct and had to propel the story. We really developed the fighting style. We really wanted to push the envelope. Also, the car chase was extreme, the Chevy Chevelle we went through….car lovers are going to cry because we went through a few cars (laughs). We wanted to keep pushing that, we wanted to make sure that I did every shot in the car chase and with the fighting. We did that really for storytelling, with where we could put the cameras and the nature of the film, it allowed for that. That was incredibly important for us. I enjoy it as well.

How was it driving the stunt cars?

Tom Cruise: It’s fun driving those cars, make no mistake about it (laughs). Every night we were in those cars and the sound of the engine, I loved that. We could feel the potential of what we were going to get. When you’re shooting cars that aren’t on rigs, and you don’t have green screen, you have to plan it to the T. That was a lot of fun. I wasn’t in a cage, I basically had a five-point harness on underneath, we put a racing seat in and stabilisers, but the impact I was taking in on my body. It was a steel frame, it’s not absorbing anything (laughs). Then we were working with a camera inside or a camera outside, it had to be so precise. Though I enjoy the precision of that, it’s also thinking about what shots are we going to get, that’s what was exciting.

And I heard you’d take Christopher McQuarrie for a spin ever now and then?

Tom Cruise: Oh man, he loved that (laughs). He couldn’t wait to get in there, you know (laughs)? When you’re shooting at those late hours we were, it’s what woke us up. I was like, “Come on man, lets go for a spin.” Don Granger (producer) was having a heart attack every time we were doing that. But then I got Don in and he loved it as well (laughs).

You also produced ‘Jack Reacher.’ How would you describe your approach to producing, getting hands-on with various aspects of the movie-making process?

Tom Cruise: Through the years I’ve had the benefit of working with some incredible filmmakers, writers, actors and producers. And for me, I just wanted to learn how to make movies, and then find my own voice as a producer. I’ve always felt that everyday I’m on a movie set, I don’t get that day back. And there are always going to be surprises so you’ve got to be fluid. When you’re developing something or working on a character, it’s not like you know the character and the story right at the beginning, everything is driving towards that, from the script, to the locations, every single department. So when I’m producing something, I get to be more involved in making movies – and I love making movies (laughs), so I love that. McQuarrie and I have made two other films together and we’d worked on several other projects together. Also, we just share a love of cinema and storytelling. We just get friends together, he and I, and we watch movies as a group. That producing process was great on this film. Helping to get everything together to propel this story,