There are so many important questions being asked in the wake of Friday’s mass shooting in Newtown, CT that to focus on the tragedy’s effect on the entertainment industry seems horribly callous. But that effect is undeniable, particularly in how it relates to Jack Reacher, the Tom Cruise actioner directed by Christopher McQuarrie from author Lee Child‘s popular series of books about the titular hero. The movie begins with a sniper’s killing spree, an act of violence that may very well hit too close to home for a nation still in mourning when it opens Friday December 21–a week to the day after the killings.
Paramount already cancelled Jack Reacher‘s gala premiere in Pittsburgh, where the movie was shot, and McQuarrie acknowledges that audiences may not be ready for his movie. “That may very well be the case,” the director tells Hollywood.com. “I would be a soulless ass***e if I was worried about myself, my career, or my movie in the wake of a disaster as terrible as Newtown. I certainly hope it doesn’t affect it, but I can’t concern myself with what the impact will be on the film.” It’s rare to find a major Hollywood director express such a lack of concern for his multi-million dollar investment, but as was the case with Christopher Nolan after the shooting during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO in July, the filmmakers’ thoughts are with the victims. “I’ve got two children of my own and one of them is seven years old,” McQuarrie says. “I think there are people with much bigger, lifelong concerns right now, so I’m not really worried about the outcome of my movie.”
Author Lee Child, whose novel One Shot was adapted by McQuarrie into Jack Reacher, suggests, however, that audiences may be able to disassociate the film’s violence from the real life tragedy, or even, possibly, take comfort in it. “I’ve been involved with crime stories of this type for 35 years in TV and in publishing, and I think audiences really are able to separate real-life tragedy from the things they see in movies or read in books,” Child says. “If anything, what we do as storytellers is try to give some comfort via stories that show justice winning out, that show closure…things which you don’t often find in real life.”
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures]
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