An awe­some thriller

> Ac­tress Co­bie Smul­ders jumps into ac­tion with Tom Cruise in Ed­ward Zwick’s up­com­ing film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

The Sun (Malaysia) - - THE BIG PICTURE - BY STEVEN GOLD­MAN Jack­Reacher?

IN DI­REC­TOR Ed­ward Zwick’s lat­est film, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, Co­bie Smul­ders stars as Su­san Turner, a re­spected army of­fi­cer who’s taken over Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise)’s old in­ves­tiga­tive unit.

But when Turner her­self is ac­cused of es­pi­onage and ar­rested for trea­son, it’s down to Reacher to prove her in­no­cence.

Best known for her break­through role in How I Met Your Mother, Smul­ders is no stranger to ac­tion ei­ther, hav­ing fea­tured as re­cur­ring char­ac­ter Maria Hill in Mar­vel’s The Avengers (2012), Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier (2014) and Avengers: Age of Ul­tron (2015).

In a re­cent in­ter­view in Los An­ge­les, Smul­ders talks about the mak­ing of her lat­est film, which is based on the 2013 Lee Child book, Never Go Back.

What ini­tially at­tracted you to the world of “So many fac­tors. For starters, I’m a huge fan of Ed Zwick’s. He’s a won­der­ful di­rec­tor of ac­tors and his films are al­ways beau­ti­ful. So hav­ing him at the helm of this project was re­ally ex­cit­ing to me. “And then, just be­ing asked to be in a Tom Cruise movie, I feel is an hon­our, and not an op­por­tu­nity that comes along of­ten. So I was re­ally ex­cited to work with him too. “Fi­nally, I also just found the char­ac­ter of Su­san Turner to be fas­ci­nat­ing – a woman in a very high-rank­ing po­si­tion within the US mil­i­tary – which was a world that I re­ally didn’t know much about.”

Is this new film a con­tin­u­a­tion of the first one? “It’s not a con­tin­u­a­tion, other than Reacher is ob­vi­ously still the main char­ac­ter. “You know, watching the first movie, it had this won­der­ful qual­ity to it. It wasn’t just an ac­tion movie to me. It was gritty and it was dark and it was com­pli­cated. “It was some­thing that had a lit­tle bit more grav­ity to it than a runof-the-mill shoot ’em up.

“I think that that sort of film­noir tone car­ried on into ours. But as far as the books go … there’re a lot of books.

“My in­ten­tion when I signed onto the project was: ‘I’m go­ing to read ev­ery book in this se­ries’ – be­cause I love do­ing re­search.

“Then I re­alised – I think he’s ei­ther writ­ing the 20th book or it just came out … So clearly, I didn’t do that. I just read ours and I loved it. I can see why Lee Child is such a pop­u­lar novelist.”

Did you do any re­search to come up to speed? “The film pro­vided us with ad­vis­ers – ex-mil­i­tary men and women who worked with us. We also did weapons train­ing at a CIA fa­cil­ity in New Or­leans.

“And then just read­ing up about dif­fer­ent first­hand ex­pe­ri­ences of modern war­fare, look­ing at doc­u­men­taries and that sort of thing.”

What’s the setup this time around? “Reacher is re­turn­ing to one of his old posts where he used to have the job that my char­ac­ter, Su­san Turner, now has.

“And he sort of finds him­self back in this world, back in this of­fice that he used to have for many years; a fa­mil­iar, yet at the same time, now a very un­com­fort­able sit­u­a­tion.

“In the pre­vi­ous film, the plot re­volved around a sniper – [it was] a who-done-it type of film. They were try­ing to solve this crime and fig­ure out what had hap­pened.

“In ours, we’re do­ing the same, but we’re do­ing it while we’re both run­ning – we spend a lot of this film run­ning away from things, and to­wards things (laughs).

“We’re con­stantly hav­ing to think on our feet, im­pro­vis­ing as we go along, ba­si­cally try­ing to find the bad guy be­fore we’re ei­ther killed or ar­rested.”

Is there a par­tic­u­lar scene or se­quence you’d like to put a spot­light on? “There’s a re­ally cool fight scene which takes place in a kitchen.

“It’s be­tween my char­ac­ter, Reacher, and the lead bad guy, played by Patrick Heusinger. It’s re­ally rough and bru­tal, and I re­ally en­joyed do­ing it.

“With Su­san Turner and Jack Reacher, you have two lone wolves try­ing to work to­gether.

“This se­quence is re­ally the first time where you see them fight­ing as a team to­gether, be­ing in a sit­u­a­tion to­gether.”

What kind of film are au­di­ences in store for? “If you liked the first film, you’ll love the new one … I think that au­di­ences will re­ally en­joy it be­cause it’s not just an ac­tion movie. It’s an awe­some ac­tion movie.” – United In­ter­na­tional Pic­tures

(right).

(be­low) Smul­ders; and (left) with di­rec­tor Zwick and Cruise on the set of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back

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