Rosamund Pike & David Oyelowo Interview For ‘Jack Reacher’
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. My Tom Cruise interview for the film can be read here.
Do your remember your first introduction to this character of Jack Reacher and the series of novels?
David Oyelowo: My first interaction with Lee Child, Jack Reacher and the books was actually Christopher McQuarrie’s script. That was my first encounter with Jack Reacher. But then I found out about how many books have been sold, how much people love the books and the character. And then I started noticing people reading Lee Child novels everywhere I went, whether it was on the bus, on the train, on the plane – everywhere (laughs)! I was fortunate that I got the gig before I found all of that out, it kind of took the pressure off.
Rosamund Pike: Yeah, since I’ve been involved in the film I’ve been seeing people reading Lee Child’s novels everywhere. I felt like there was almost a conspiracy on Virgin Atlantic because coming out to shoot the film there was 3 people around me reading a Lee Child novel. I sort of thought, “Are these people placed here by Paramount?” (Laughs).
Rosamund, what was it about Helen that appealed to you?
Rosamund Pike: I think we’ve come to see a type of law portrayed on film that has become so sort of perfect and groomed and manicured – and slightly cold around the edges. I was interested in finding the humanity of this woman, someone who’s actually trying to present a polished front, but is struggling to hold it all together, you know? So we wanted some cracks to appear, so when we started working on the script I was really pushing Chris to sort of suggest that she’s up against it, suggest that her firm doesn’t want her to take the case, make the stakes higher for her.
Emerson has an interesting dynamic with Jack Reacher in the film, how did you look at that relationship?
David Oyelowo: Yeah. Detective Emerson is the lead Detective on this particular case; the case being a sniper shooting in Pittsburgh where 5 people have been killed. Basically I’m first on the scene, but the distinctive thing about this particular sniper is that he clearly has military training. So Jack Reacher comes in as an ex-military policeman, he has expertise in this, in a sense that he knows the mind of someone who’s been in the military. For a time we sort of collaborate, as it were, to get this man.
Something that Christopher McQuarrie felt very strongly about was that he wanted the person who played Emerson to be someone who felt like a sort of yang to the yin of Reacher, in a sense. Someone who you could kind of see these guys teaming up, with that possibly being a good thing. But the fact that whenever they’re together you feel like there’s a slight rivalry there, these are both guys who have investigative mind, they both understand information gathering with a view to tracking down a criminal. So a part of the tension is that there’s a level of competition, and there’s a question of are these two going to come together to try and get the man as opposed to there being a little bit of butting heads because of their rivalries?
Reacher is somewhat countered by Helen, they come to things from different directions?
Rosamund Pike: Yeah. Helen is a wonderful test for Jack Reacher. The way Christopher McQuarrie has wrote it, you’ve got this kind of old school dynamic between a man and woman, it’s like something from a Howard Hawks movie. It’s back and forth, it’s frustration, it’s attraction, they’re puzzled by one another, they’re enjoyed by one another, they find one another desirable… its got everything in it. But, for me, the interesting thing is that Helen’s a competent lawyer, while Jack Reacher has a brilliant mind, and Helen is never going to be that good – even on her best day. And that drives her mad (laughs). It’s like she’s great at maths, but then she meets a master mathematician. It’s when you kind of face what you are not, that makes you want to be so much better. So you feel in ‘Jack Reacher’ that Helen learns an awful lot, she’s become a better lawyer.
With so many people being fascinated by the character of Jack Reacher, what is it about him that intrigues to you?
Rosamund Pike: I suppose as actors we’re interested in character, and one of the things about Jack Reacher is that he is an amazing deconstructor of character. He’ll look at someone and notice everything about them, to an uncanny degree. It’s so satisfying when you read these books to go with his mental journey, go with his mental high-jumps. He’d notice everything about you, he has this incredibly nuanced, clever thinking. He’s like this modern cowboy, who doesn’t give a damn about material possessions. He roams through life without cell phones, no fixed address, he pays cash only – that’s freedom in our world (laughs).
How was the experience of working alongside Tom Cruise on’Jack Reacher’?
David Oyelowo: Anyone who has been following Tom Cruise’s career for 30 years, which is probably most people on planet Earth (laughs), they will know that there is not a more dedicated actor in what he does. And I got to experience that first hand, in terms of not just as a dramatic actor, but also in terms of with the action and as a producer. The thing about him is that he has a very total experience when it comes to making movies, and he has a very total desire to make it work. Whatever he can do he does it, whether that’s pulling 36 hour stints of shooting, or doing all his own stunts, or being in a rehearsal with myself and Rosamund to get the scene right before we hit the set.
For me, ‘Jack Reacher’ is a much more sleek action-thriller than what we see typically see in modern cinema……
David Oyelowo: I think there are going to be a lot of preconceptions that are going to be surprised and overturned. It’s an intelligent thriller, it’s very cerebral. The action isn’t what you typically get these days, this cutty-cutty-cutty thing, where you can’t really tell what you’re looking at, but you know it’s meant to be exciting, but it’s a bit of a mush (laughs). This is more traditional filmmaking in a sense that with something like a car chase, we were in those cars, or when Tom Cruise and Jai Courtney are fighting, they are doing those fights. It’s not fast cuts, you are right there with it and you believe it.
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