They’ve released a poster for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. As you can see, Tom Cruise is front and centre, under a hooded leather jacket, looking appropriately determined. He is accessorised by his co-stars Jeremy Renner, Paula Patton, and Simon Pegg. Where’s Josh Holloway? 

No matter. All that matters, always, is Tom, who’s actually kinda hot here, strategically placed in the foreground with the added benefit of not seeming so short. This is important. The height issue is important, especially as it relates to Jack Reacher in One Shot

Fans of the book have been protesting his casting saying that the fictional character is 6 ft 5 and doesn’t have to wear lifts. Empire Magazine interviewed Tom on the set of One Shot recently and addressed the issue with him. Turns out, he’s quite “sensitive” to it. And he defends it by explaining that author Lee Childs personally approved his involvement: 

"Firstly, I'm very sensitive to it. 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. 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."

I’m not sure that last sentence makes sense...but whatever. The point the readers have a right to be pissed if the creator isn’t? 

I had a conversation with someone about this the other day. He is a fan of the character and 100% opposes Tom Cruise playing him. I however feel torn. As you know, I have supported the selection of Willow Smith to play little orphan Annie because I don’t think it matters whether or not Annie has red hair and freckles, her experience is universal, no matter what she looks like, and in choosing Willow for the role, it also allows for more imagination in future role assignments, something that could promote more inclusiveness in Hollywood. 

As such, in taking that position on the side of Willow Smith, can I then turn around and criticise the decision to make Tom Cruise Jack Reacher just because he’s not tall enough? I loved Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. But she was obviously older. And her body was not starved down to resemble a boy’s. And she did a great job because she captured the spirit of what Lisbeth is. Why is it so difficult to be fair and apply the same standard in other cases? Am I hypocritical in other situations in the same way about other actors just because I don’t like them? In casting these roles, should the most important and overriding criteria be whether or not the actor can truly embody the essence of the part rather than simply meet the physical qualifications? 

Here’s how Tom describes Jack Reacher: 

"Reacher is such a great character. 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."

I don’t know Jack Reacher. I haven’t read the books. But if who he is is more about attitude than about being 6 ft 5, whether or not Tom Cruise is suitable to play him should be a question of ability. 

Let’s bitch then about whether or not Tom Cruise has the ability. And here’s where I think there’s an argument. Because at this point, can you separate Tom Cruise from his characters? If, say, it was Jeremy Renner, who is also nowhere near 6 ft 5, were cast as Jack Reacher, would stature still be the problem? 

Balls. Trying to be objective is no fun. Did you hear about the time Xenu tried to attack South Park? Click here.  

And click here for more from Tom in Empire.