The British-born writer hinted that there will not be a third Reacher film and he now wants his hero to return in a TV series with a “pretty big” actor taking on the role.
Cruise, 56, who is just 5ft 7in, has portrayed the 6ft 5in force of nature in two films, Jack Reacher and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.
Until now the author, 63, who lives in New York, has sought to rebut criticism of Cruise’s diminutive stature, saying: “Reacher’s size in the books is a metaphor for an unstoppable force, which Cruise portrays in his own way.
“With another actor you might get 100 per cent of the height but only 90 per cent of Reacher.
“With Tom, you’ll get 100 per cent of Reacher with 90 per cent of the height.”
But after six years of defending the actor, Child has done a U-turn.
In conversation with fellow author John Grisham, he told the International Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate: “Hopefully, with a bit of luck, we will go to television and make a Netflix, or something like that. That will have one sad, awkward consequence in that Tom Cruise doesn’t act on television so we will have to have a new lead actor.”
Grisham, who saw Cruise portray the lead character in a film adaptation of his breakthrough novel The Firm, said: “I bet the new Jack Reacher will be a bit taller?”
Child replied: “You’re damn right about that. I don’t know who it will be, but he will be pretty big.
“I don’t know how popular the series will be but hopefully it will be long-running. Television is now the thing to do.”