An awesome thriller
> Actress Cobie Smulders jumps into action with Tom Cruise in Edward Zwick’s upcoming film Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
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
(below) Smulders; and (left) with director Zwick and Cruise on the set of Jack Reacher: Never Go Back