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Outside of being A-list superstars with a penchant for blockbuster action epics, there doesn’t seem to be a lot in common between Dwayne Johnson and Tom Cruise, especially in the size department.
It would be an understatement to say The Rock is somewhat larger and beefier than the Mission: Impossible figurehead, so you can’t imagine them being in the running for the same sort of roles, never mind the fact Johnson is way too careful to even contemplate doing something half as deranged as the stunts Cruise has been making his bread and butter for decades.
And yet, they were both denied the exact same role within the space of a few years, albeit for very different reasons. When it was first announced that Jack Reacher was in development, Johnson fought hard to secure himself the part, and he’d have been an obvious contender given that he matches the literary creation’s imposing physicality.
In fact, the former WWE star has been open in admitting his regret at missing out on the part, while Cruise ended up coming under heavy fire from fans of the source material when he ended up being tasked to headline regular collaborator Christopher McQuarrie’s gritty thriller. Obviously, he’s about foot shorter than Reacher is on the page, but the end product turned out to be a solid old-fashioned thriller.
Sequel Never Go Back was a massive disappointment, though, leading author Lee Child to demand Cruise be booted out. Things didn’t need to go that far when the underwhelming reception saw any plans for a third installment shelved, opening the door for the suitably hefty Alan Ritchson to step in for popular Prime Video series Reacher, which has a second season on the way.
You’d never imagine Dwayne Johnson and Tom Cruise competing for the same part only for both of them to end up with nothing, but Hollywood has a funny way of throwing up coincidences exactly like it.