Dwayne Johnson did another Instagram talk yesterday, and an interesting topic came up. Someone asked him if there were any roles that he missed out on that he wishes he had gotten. His answer was a bit of a surprise; it turns out that he wanted to play Jack Reacher. The character, made famous in a series of novels by author Lee Child, spent years and years trying to get to the screen. Ultimately, he was played by Tom Cruise in two films, one in 2012 and a sequel in 2016. Dwayne Johnson, in those years, became one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, creating his own path and characters. He touched on that while discussing the role of Reacher.
Dwayne Johnson Wanted More Creative Control
"In Hollywood, actors are kind of like in-a-box. There are actors that can vie for a particular role because it allows for them to have a certain look, skin color, size, etc. Fortunately, for me, there aren't a lot of guys at all who look like me. So, all of my roles, from the beginning of my career, I've been a lucky son of a bitch that they've been created and designed for me — except Jack Reacher. Now, this was ten years ago, and I was in a much different place, I recognize that. Tom was the biggest movie star in the world, and I was not. I'm positive that the role of Jack Reacher, because it was an established character, an IP that was well known and beloved around the world, that I wouldn't have had the creative space to do what I wanted with the character. I look back in gratitude that I didn't get Jack Reacher."
Jack Reacher would not have been the right role for Dwayne Johnson. It was a good Tom Cruise film, though. While yes, Reacher can be brutal, he is also known for his finesse in certain situations. While I love The Rock as much as anybody, subtle and full of finesse, he is not. Plus, I wouldn't have traded any of the roles he got instead of that one. He already mostly played Reacher anyway in Walking Tall. So, thanks Tom Cruise. You gave us a star in Dwayne Johnson.