Friday, July 18, 2008

Hey Hollywood

I’ve written before about what a big fan I am of Jack Reacher and his exploits. Currently in the U.K., Lee Child’s new Reacher book Nothing to Lose, and the previous title, Bad Luck and Trouble, are #1 best sellers in hardback and paperback fiction. Lee Child is the pen name for an English guy called Jim Grant who now lives in New York. I just discovered that Jim used to work for Granada television. After being made redundant in 1991, he moved to Kirkby Lonsdale, a small market town in Cumbria 10 miles from my home in Grasmere and about the same distance from where I grew up in Lancaster. Kirkby Lonsdale is well worth a visit as it is one of those authentic market towns full of real crafts people, shops and old pubs.

Jim started his first book with three pads of paper, a pencil, eraser and pencil sharpener. Five months later, Jack Reacher was born in Killing Floor. The hero had no name at that time and Jim was working temporarily as a warehouseman in Kendall. Being a tall guy, there was always “a little old lady” asking him for help to reach the top shelves. His wife was with him one day when this happened and said, “if this writing thing doesn’t work out, you could always be a reacher”. And so Jack got a name.

I cannot for the life of me understand why these books haven’t been made into an ongoing film series. I understand that they have been optioned but no one’s yet taken the plunge. It really is time for James Bond to be re-invented. Jason Bourne is a step on the way but Hollywood needs to finish the job and put Jack Reacher to work. And with twelve books already written, we’re talking ready-made franchise.