Star author Lee Child has lifted the lid on who hulk character Jack Reacher is really based on.

The 1.9m, ex-US military policeman, who drifts around America's vast landscape, with nothing more than a folding toothbrush, is known for being on the wrong side of the law for all the right reasons.

The large, invulnerable and moral hero Reacher became a hit 23-book series for the 64-year-old writer.

But the hit film, based on the books, received backlash for casting the 1.6m Tom Cruise, who has since been dropped from the film for being too short.


Speaking to the Radio Sport Breakfast team, Child admitted Reacher's appearance and physique was based around a rugby great, known for his size, brute strength and physicality.

"I based Reacher on a physical type of person which is huge and ugly. There was an English rugby player called Lawrence Dallaglio.

"Think of him in his peak. He was a big guy.

"There is a very iconic image of him and he's got the ball in one hand, his hands wrap around the ball and he's the sort of guy you would not mess with. Because he's big and he's rather brutal-looking, not that I'd say that to his face.

"I think he does, and at the time Martin Johnson was England captain - he was a Reacher fan and was annoyed I wasn't basing the character on him!"

"I based Reacher on a physical type of person which is huge and ugly. There was an English rugby player called Lawrence Dallaglio." Photo / Getty

The Radio Sport Breakfast team also asked Lee Child what New Zealand sportsman would resemble Reacher the most, given four options between 1.9m former Blues lock Jim Coe, former All Black Justin Marshall, UFC fighter Dan Hooker and Black Caps great Chris Cairns.

Child pointed to a picture of Jim Coe, saying: "That's the guy. A big towering guy. Wide in the shoulders, walks into the room and the temperature drops.

"I'm sure he's the nicest guy but he walks into the room and you feel ugh."

Mike Hosking chats with Jack Reacher author Lee Child. / Newstalk ZB

In previous interviews, the hit author admitted he keeps his writing razor-sharp by working while high on cannabis and even claims that it should be made compulsory.

"I've been smoking weed for 44 years, five nights a week," the author confessed. "I'm the poster boy to prove it doesn't do you much harm.

"I have a guy on speed dial in New York who comes over with a huge range of marijuana. I smoke it in a pipe because I've never been any good at rolling my own joints."