Why Jack Reacher author Lee Child says he doesn't care about newspaper critics | ITV News



really really lovely to see you today on a very prestigious day you're getting the big award tonight yeah it's really lovely does it does it feel special when you're asked to come back here to your home country to be celebrated very much so yeah I mean it's a really nice compliment a really nice gesture really nice reason for coming back I mean pretty I'm the publishing industry I think we've got the best publishing industry in the world you know booming the you know the the literary world is booming over here it is it's fantastic amazing amount of quality and which is why I feel really good about getting the award because there are so many good authors and good books I mean obviously Britain has a great literary section the real literary writers here are outstanding and there are tremendous newcomers and women's fiction in particular is just sensational right now and so if I hadn't got the award I'd have been perfectly happy and as plenty of other worthy recipients but to to get it feels very special against that kind of context this is where you still feel you belong obviously you're an international figure now you know you live in New York I know you come back and forth but you know as an art as a as a literary figure Britain is you it is really because you know when you write a book obviously that's your whole life going into that book it's the the whole Sun the author's life and experience goes into the book and of course most of it well I suppose two-thirds of it probably is still in Britain I'm very old now so I have to calculate this yes certainly my formative years were spent here my breathing reading is the only thing that prepares you for being a writer so reading here the British libraries and stuff like that that's really what created and enabled my life so getting back here it does feel very special although I'm not coming back to Birmingham this time you know which is where I actually grew up and that is really where my roots are in a serious way because Birmingham manufacturing silly thing think they made useful things with the kind of quiet pride and that's what I aspire to I would like to be as a Birmingham artisan of the literary world and so that's where my roots are and that's what created the success just Birmingham celebrate you know I mean it's funny but how many of us moved on so much I love going back there because the DNA of Birmingham is still visible but since I've been away I left to go to university and haven't really been back much since it's changed an awful lot and yet it hasn't it's really fascinating proposition you're born in commentary and college is about to be the City of Culture in 2021 which is a very very big deal would that be something where if they were to were to ask you as a very famous product of the city I don't know really because you know I was born there absolutely and but I moved to Birmingham when I was four so I think it's a little bogus to say I'm a Coventry person they keep claiming me yeah they want me to be a commentary ambassador and all that anything but I have to say in all honesty I've got very little memory of it and I would say I'm much more of a brony than the country did you ever have a Brummie accent I did yeah I got some I got something wrong with me when I was about seven and they weren't sure what it was and I went to hospital for about four weeks and during those four weeks I got the most shocking Birmingham accent which I actually I'm not ashamed but at all I like it but my mother was quite keen when it faded away again and your story of how you came to writing it's so fascinating and inspirational because you you came to writing late and it was sort of like you know there's something that you spelling to as a necessity really because what you thought you were gonna do and did not very well it disappeared from under me yeah I mean you know the world I was the guy that is talking in your ear or the I'm saying come on hurry up shut up get that guy off I was that guy I loved it it was a great great job British television back when I worked there was just paradise it was and luckily and I certainly I'm old enough that I was one of those who thought you've got a job and that was it for your whole life and then I would retire at 60 with a gold watch and that would be it and that would have suited me fine because it was a great job and I loved it but this is how I always put it I loved it and then one day my bus said something to me that just made it impossible to continue he said you're fired and that's how it all began and so the writing was was not an ambition I'd never thought about it before I've been a reader all my life and I thought what am I going to do next and I just you know what I'll try and write a book and it would not have happened if I hadn't lost that job so why did Jack Reacher come from well having worked in television for so long and the theater before that I knew that you can't design these things the harder you work at listing why he ought to be what you need he should be the worse it gets you know it becomes forced and it becomes a wooden and cardboard so I designed him by not thinking about it at all I just metaphorically close my eyes and typed and he was what came out and obviously that means that he has resonance somewhere deep in my past I think all of our paths the knight errant myth the guy who shows up and solves our problem and then moved on which we all deeply need I think internally you know if we have a problem wouldn't it be great if somebody would just come and fix it for us and then disappear so we didn't have those gratification users but I think we all yearn for that and I think that's why he strikes such a chord because you know people do have problems they have a they have miserable desperate lives sometimes and they run into crises and run into things that they can't deal with it would be great if somebody came and fixed it and that's what Richer is he's this mysterious force who just shows up solves the problem and moves on do you think in our world today's is even more relevant and needed than he was maybe when you started totally I mean absolutely a several things that happened along the way you know Richards first book was in 1997 and then four years later came 9/11 which was a kind of big crisis where people wanted security and they wanted help then came the financial crash in 2008-2009 where people felt trapped by the burden of death and so on and so reached his lifestyle he owns nothing possesses nothing doesn't want anything that suddenly became very very attractive and now you know people burdened down with jobs and bills and mortgages and all that kind of stuff so here's his free lifestyle becomes very very appealing it was a reportedly the creation of Jack Reed she said something deep inside you you obviously parted company with a TV career under quite unpleasant circumstances was this something festering inside you that thought I can't fix it but I'm gonna try and count someone who can exactly yeah I mean what I was doing for my I did it all for myself but I was in the same spot as millions of other people and therefore that's why it worked and I actually did you know the first many many books the first six or eight books the bad guys are all named after those buses that fired me and so it was very much catharsis for me and I think by extension catharsis for the people because it wasn't just me you know in the TV business hundreds of people were fired and in industry generally thousands of people are five millions of people around the world are in the same spot and so I think the satisfaction that I got resonated with everybody else and and how did the film side of it happened is it something that you approached someone to do what someone approaches you and how does it work well it works that it's almost the exact reverse of publishing publishing looks at everything and buys very little Hollywood buys everything without looking at it just in case it might be useful later sometimes in order to squash something when they were but they've already got a project that's similar or whatever they buy everything and so the initial sale law is easy to make and then the development as they call it is the hard part is it actually going to happen on the screen and for me it took a very long time in fact of 15 years from the first option deal to the first movie actually opening in a cinema and why did it take so long it just does I mean you know with the example I always give er you know that very very famous TV series that ran forever that took 20 years to get on the screen so anything less than that was pretty speedy by the Hollywood standards why do you think it resident in the films of Bill mean the books have been phenomenal the films have been a smash hits haven't they what's why I think because great watch actually but yeah you know they were very well made really it was because they were big studio productions absolutely but they had an independent feel simply because the entire cast and crew wanted to do this guy they wanted to do these stories so they were really personally very invested and very enthusiastic about it it was such fun for me because I had 100 people around who knew Richard just as well as I did they were telling me you know what Richard would say and what he would do it was very gratifying that he had migrated outward into people's imaginations like that and Tom Cruise was aware as well of what Jack Reacher would have done in certain situations you know yeah he'd read all the books and he he had all his own theories and he could quote from the books and they they were bantering between each other all the time coming up with quotes from the books and it was great and if you are now am I right in thinking that it's now good move to television yes actually happening it is happening right now actually little did you know we're trying to get the deal in place which which have a platform once it the most I think it was because that deal was done that specific cruise deal was done a long time ago in 2005 and back then in 2005 this sort of streaming television thing wasn't wasn't a thing you know nobody's ever really heard of it then so obviously back then you would go to future films I think now for choice you would go to television television is really pretty good right now yeah I was at the BAFTAs last night who's gonna be Jack Reacher on TV well it's a process that we first of all we're going to do the deal and then we're going to look for the answer and I want people to make suggestions because my readers were not happy with Tom Cruise because you know Chris is a lovely guy and he's a great actor but he did not have the physicality that Rita has in the books and the readers found that to be unsatisfying the height yeah that might be the bulk and the sort of Menace that it reaches steps into a room everybody's just a little bit worried because he's an animal and Tom Cruise couldn't do that really and so we're gonna I'm not asking for suggestions you know get on my Facebook page and say who do you want and I'd love to cast a complete unknown which I think we can in television you know a complete unknown who just fits the part perfectly how did you cope with kind of all the comments that came from from viewers saying why did you allow them to do this to our beloved Jack Reacher putting someone he was five foot seven when he should be 6.5 well I was just thrilled that they said beloved I mean back at the beginning literally if somebody had said to me you're going to create a character where people get upset about who plays him in the movie I were sitting yeah I'll take that deal and so it was really you know it was awkward because I like Tom Cruise he's a really nice guy's a good friend and so he was suffering from the criticism and I felt sorry about that but basically I just felt thrilled that anybody cared and he's cool about you choosing another yeah he's totally cool he's going to stay honest and as an executive producer in the series which I really want because the other thing that people don't see about Cruz is he's a great theoretician about story he spent all his life telling stories and he's really good at it so we need him on board and yeah he's totally happy about it we look at the numbers for your book sales I mean to say they're mind-boggling I mean 100 million and then this this this whole thing about I have read separately that every three seconds every five seconds every nine seconds or every 13 seconds somewhere in the world someone is buying a Jack Reacher book which one of those is accurate well it depends on the time of year you know when the when the book is new and fresh and just out it's probably like 10 every second and then of course later in the year it slows down a little bit so on average I believe it's somewhere about eight or nine seconds and but you know and it sounds horrible to say but it we've given up counting because it's just we'd have to have a full-time staff counting them you know it's it's just amazing it's a nice position to be in isn't it too bad yeah crime fiction is booming crime fiction has overtaken general fiction in terms of its popularity amongst readers what what it why is that I mean we know the particular appeal of Jack Reacher but you know we cannot get enough of crime fiction right now why is that I think it's because you got a great crime novel I've wish there was great novels and you it has a beginning a middle and an end and you read it in a couple of days and the problem is resolved in a couple of days closure is achieved order is restored satisfaction has arrived that people feel good you know relieved everything's alright now and that is such a contrast to real life as we know everything drags on forever in real life and never really gets solved at all at the national level and at a personal level especially with crime you know crime is a sort of low level squalid grubby thing in people's lives and if you're the victim of a crime you know I hope it doesn't happen but if your house is broken into or something they won't catch the guys they won't be you won't get your stuff back you live with a kind of low-level buzz of frustration and disappointment about that but in the book you bet they'll find the guys and you will get your stuff back so you like that all services do you ever encounter any snobbery within the literary world you know amongst the people who perhaps think the Booker Prize is everything and and you've you know there is this idea you've sold so many books you know and that is slightly looked down upon yes a strange inversion it's new you know that something that is patently attractive to 100 million people is looked down upon but it doesn't bother me really because it's there's a compensation in the sales you know in the hundred million critics that count for me are the actual readers and the newspaper critics and so on can say what they like although I will say that over the 20 years I've been doing it they've become increasingly kinder and kinder and kind of more realistic about it I think that you know media commentary in general is now getting more in tune with what people like you know like like football for instance I was just reading the paper today every paper it's not like a twenty page section about football whereas in the past it would just be one page on the back of the paper in other words people are taken seriously what real consumers do which I trying to be sensible we've just mentioned football so I'm going to have to ask you about Aston Villa fingers a crust but one thing I've learned in my long long life is that Aston Villa will always break your heart are you expecting to have your heart broken I'm expecting ya May 27th isn't it the player final I'm expecting it to be broken because I feel it's always safer to to expect that with the villain and they might surprise me I used to go watch Miller all the time during the Palmer san'dera and everything and there's a lot of dion ee in the glory days you write it it's painful isn't it it can't be yeah but the highest when you know when the great day's work great the problem is that it's a long time ago really since you you went down there expecting to win it's okay so tonight you're going to win we know you're going to win what have you thought about what you're gonna say I just want to say actually the thing that really really impressed me from the very beginning is how lovely everybody is in publishing they're really nice people and so I do feel weird I'm giving a prize for having the best life ever I should really begin banner prize that's what I probably what I'm going to say do you ever feel like driving past the Grenada studios I'm like waving hello I've still got I've still got good friends from the Granada days and you know one of us was gonna make it it's just a statistical fluke that it's me could have been any of them and I still like them all with still good friends and because I don't believe in Mentor anymore they've had to go somewhere else to find a job but I've seen them from time to time and they were happy days and you know nobody can take that away where are we at with Jack Reacher on television and the book you've just done a one with will trend haven't you leave the cache it was a short story with Karen Sloan who's good for years I mean probably ten years we said we should write a story together and finally we have and it was good fun because people that know what Karen slaughters series will Trent is her character that appears in this story I have a secret theory she based him on me he looks like me a little bit and I think secretly she won't admit it but I think secretly she modeled him on me so I'm writing Reacher and hamlets of two versions of me maybe maybe Reacher is you actually maybe on a subconscious level could you see when I you've got me thinking straight away you see who do I see as Jack Reacher I'm thinking Richard Madden or somebody well I it's very the problem is I see Reacher is not all that good looking and the problem is you know it's just a rough tough guy and all exercise Anson that's the problem so really in my mind at the beginning there was an England rugby player called Lawrence Dallaglio and I would never say this to his face but he's a big not very good-looking guy and you know big huge hands and everything that's who I pictured as Rita that sniper but physique and if they can find and I think you know an unknown actor who looked like that that would be perfect you

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