Tom Cruise is re-teaming with his Valkyrie and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie for One Shot, which will mark the screen debut of author Lee Child’s popular ex-Army cop character, Jack Reacher.

Cruise is already officially confirmed to be playing Reacher in the film, which is currently on the lookout for an actress to handle its female lead role – a “tough lawyer and daughter of the district attorney.”

THR says that Paramount is looking for a “pedigreed yet non-A-list” starlet for the movie, which McQuarrie is both writing and directing. Hence why an actress like Brit Marling (Another Earth) was previously a lead contender – before a scheduling conflict forced her premature exit.

McQuarrie and Paramount studio heads held a reading with at least three actresses over the weekend: Hayley Atwell (Captain America: The First Avenger), Alexa Davalos (Clash of the Titans), and Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day). There’s no word yet on whether any of them have secured the part – or who else may be reading for the role in the near future.

Earlier this year, Pike replaced Davalos as the mythological Greek goddess Andromeda in the Titans sequel, Wrath of the Titans. Atwell, by comparison, is also on the rise after her turn as the plucky Peggy Carter in Captain America this summer. It would be easy to single out the latter as a fitting addition to One Shot because of her turn in the most recent Marvel movie release, but Atwell also has a handful of additional fine performances (see: Brideshead Revisited, The Prisoner, The Pillars of the Earth) to recommend her as well.

UPDATE: Deadline says that Pike has begun negotiations for the female lead role in One Shot.

Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter

The big issue for Jack Reacher fans still has to do with Cruise being cast as the deadly loner – and, admittedly, they have a legitimate reason to be bothered. While the aging action star can still play a convincing badass onscreen, he doesn’t really bear any physical resemblance to Child’s description of the character: a blonde bruiser who stands about 6’5” tall and is heavily scarred from his time serving in the military.

Child has already voiced his approval of the casting by saying that Reacher’s size was meant to serve as a metaphor for his take-no-prisoners attitude and how the character is essentially “an unstoppable force” when he sets out on a mission. Obviously, the author isn’t an impartial party who has nothing to gain or lose by promoting the casting of Cruise, but that doesn’t mean he’s flat-out lying either. As mentioned before, even the actor’s detractors have to admit that Cruise can still convincingly kick butt and take names like few other movie stars.

Expect to hear more casting news for One Shot in the near future, as it will begin production this fall in order to make a February 8th, 2013 theatrical release date.

Source: THR

Update Source: Deadline