Jack Reacher author Lee Child has offered some unsolicited advice to movie star Tom Cruise that even he admits sounds "extremely patronising".

Cruise, 57, played Reacher in two action-packed films based on Child's novels, Jack Reacher in 2012 and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back in 2016.

Both movies sit alongside recent Cruise action films like Mission Impossible: Fallout and Edge of Tomorrow, news.com.au reports.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Child revealed that Cruise was "reluctant" to leave the Jack Reacher franchise at two films and wanted to continue.

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"He had his own investment in it, he was going to argue against it. It sounds extremely patronising, but I think it's good for him. He's too old for this stuff. He's 57, he needs to move on, transition to being a character actor," Child said.

"He could get another 20 years out of it. He has the talent. He's a terrific guy, very considerate, good fun."

We're not sure if Cruise's next big-screen project classifies as "character actor" fare.

To be released in June 2002, Top Gun: Maverick is a long-awaited sequel to the 1986 action classic Top Gun, with Cruise reprising the role of flight instructor Pete "Maverick" Mitchell some 24 years later.

Author Lee Child.
Author Lee Child.

Last year, Child revealed that while the Jack Reacher novels were set to be adapted into a television series, Cruise would not reprise his role because he didn't have the character's "physicality".

Reacher was described in the novels as a towering 195cm, but Cruise stands at a more diminutive 170cm.

"Cruise, for all his talent, didn't have that physicality," Child told BBC Radio.

The author said he "really enjoyed" working with the Mission: Impossible star but wanted to be true to the character.

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"Ultimately, the readers are right," he said. "The size of Reacher is really, really important, and it's a big component of who he is.

"The idea is that when Reacher walks into a room, you're all a little nervous just for that first minute. And Cruise, for all his talent, didn't have that physicality," he continued.

Child said he decided that "there won't be any more movies with Tom Cruise" but instead a television series "with a completely new actor".

"And I want all those readers who were upset about Tom Cruise to help me out — participate in choosing the right actor for the TV series. We're rebooting and starting over and we're going to try and find the perfect guy," he said.