'Jack Reacher' director brings U.S. premiere of film to 'Burgh

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, 9:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh will get a thank-you gift on Saturday from the creators of “Jack Reacher.”

“We thought the best way to do that would be to have the U.S. premiere of ‘Jack Reacher' right here in Pittsburgh,” said director Christopher McQuarrie, in town for the premiere at SouthSide Works. “Pittsburgh deserves it. The city has been wonderful.”

Stars Tom Cruise, Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Robert Duvall are expected to join him on the red carpet, along with author Lee Child, whose thriller “One Shot” became the basis for the movie.

The movie opens with that impressive view of the city from Fort Pitt Tunnel. That's how McQuarrie first saw the Golden Triangle, coming in from the airport.

He became fond of other locations, especially the Armstrong Tunnel.

“I had a moment of inspiration the minute I drove through that tunnel,” he said. “I thought it would be perfect for the car chase, with traffic coming the opposite way, and that because it has a bend in it, we would be able to make that car chase go on for a long time.

“Sometimes when you are doing a movie and you find a spot you like, they tell you that you can't use that spot. But we were never told no.”

In addition to good locations, Pittsburgh offered economic benefits, he said.

As screenwriter and director, McQuarrie said writing the screenplay from “One Shot” was an easy transition.

“Lee Child has a lot of experience with film, and he thinks a lot like a filmmaker,” he said.

Child visited the set during filming and has a cameo as a police officer. Cruise made that decision, McQuarrie said.

“The scene is perfect because it is one in which Child hands over all of Reacher's personal belongings,” McQuarrie said. It symbolizes Lee “passing the torch of Reacher to Cruise. We wanted Lee's cameo to be a performance and not just a moment.”

Cruise puts on a memorable performance, said McQuarrie, whose love of film began at age 12.

“Tom Cruise is wonderful to work with,” McQuarrie said. “He will work 24 hours straight if we need him to. He respects and appreciates the time frame for completing a movie, and that we are sometimes on a compressed schedule and that things come up during shooting — like Rosamund Pike's pregnancy.”

And he didn't have to be 6 foot, 5 inches, to play the role.

“I never had a doubt about Tom playing Jack Reacher,” McQuarrie said. “I knew some things about Tom that other people don't know or see. I think physical size would have been a distraction on screen. Having a really big guy would have been an obstacle.”

“Jack Reacher” will open in theaters on Dec. 21.

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jharrop@tribweb.com or 412-320-7889.

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