Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

Tom Cruise got to Jack Reacher first, portraying the hulking military police officer turned vigilante in two films. But truth be told, for fans of Lee Child’s hugely popular novel series, Cruise was never a convincing fit, from his distracting star wattage to his smaller stature.

Now, in the Prime Video series adaptation, the stans have found their Reacher. The muscle-bound six-foot-three Alan Ritchson — a staple on shows like “Blue Mountain State” and “Titans” — is right at home as the do-good drifter whose one-liners are as devastating as his blows.

The first season of “Reacher” debuted in 2022 and became the first Prime Video title to top Nielsen’s SVOD rankings. But for the eagerly anticipated second season, which premieres on Dec. 15, Reacher’s biggest battle might be winning audiences over to a whole new cast. Because the hero is always on the run, the characters he grew friendly with in Margrave, Ga., during Season 1 aren’t returning. Instead, in the new chapter, only an MP buddy from his former 110th Unit, Neagley (Maria Sten), rejoins Reacher for the adventure. Ritchson knows it’s risky to ask viewers to stay on for an unrelated story, this one involving the murder of his friends from the 110th.

“The cast of the first season set the bar so impossibly high for any other characters coming into the show,” says Ritchson, whose vigilante left behind in Margrave a flirtation with a local cop and constant bickering with the police captain. “It almost feels like there’s a bittersweet betrayal by us enjoying a different adventure. But I think when people see what Reacher is like around his chosen family, they’re going to fall in love for different reasons.”

On top of a new story, fans will see a hidden side of the tightlipped avenger. While always looking out for the defenseless — Season 2 opens with him brutally dispatching a robber who carjacked a mother and her young son — he rarely discusses his past or lets down his guard. Yet this season offers plenty of bonding time with Neagley and his other MP buddies, which calls for Ritchson to infuse his character with some heart.

“It’s walking that line between being too stoic or hostile, or being warm and friendly, but also remaining in the state of emotional availability that’s authentic to Reacher,” Ritchson says. “I do think people are going to love the familiarity that he has with his team and the banter we haven’t seen before. We get to see Reacher in his element.”

Ritchson is no stranger to beloved IP: He’s played superheroes in two DC Comics series (Aquaman in “Smallville” and Hawk in “Titans”), portrayed Raphael in the two most recent live-action “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” films, and joined Vin Diesel in “Fast X.” But with “Reacher,” Ritchson follows in the footsteps of his favorite ’80s action stars, like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, in a one-manarmy story that recalls classics such as “Commando” and the Rambo series. Yet the actor cites another alpha male as Reacher’s true predecessor: Harrison Ford.

“The way that he can make you laugh as he grunts the line through gritted teeth … we don’t have a lot of men that can do that these days,” he says. “But it’s something that I like to bring to characters: that grizzled malice while finding a way to remain likable.”

DISSED AND DISMISSED

Reacher is always ready to take down a bad guy — and he has a knack for adding insult to injury. Here are some of his best quips from Season 1.

“I’m just gonna break the hands of three drunk kids. One of you has got to drive to the hospital.” — To four local hoodlums

“The only thing up my ass right now is you. So if you think you can perform the inspection without getting seriously injured, go for it.” — Declining a cavity exam in prison

“When I ask people to dance, it usually precedes a lot of punching.” — To his cop love interest at a bar

“I’ll end your life with one phone.” — Before strangling a man with a landline cord

“For the record, I’m not a vagrant, I’m a hobo.” — On being unhoused

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The post ‘Reacher’ Rises Again: Buff Ass-Kicker Alan Ritchson on Season 2’s New Cast and Harrison Ford’s Influence appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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