While his onscreen character Jack Reacher certainly can't stand bullies, the actor who plays him, Alan Ritchson, says he "obliged" a former high school bully who wanted a picture.
In a chat with The Wall Street Journal, Ritchson talked about his "strict" childhood, his first brush with fame as an American Idol hopeful — he was cut in the second round — and his life on the road with his high school sweetheart wife, Cat, and their three boys.
Ritchson says he experienced his share of bullying growing up in Niceville, Florida. "Early on, I wasn’t physically built the way I am now, and I loved expressing myself through music, singing and in-line skating," he revealed. "Not ideal for a guy in an area where all the dudes wore mullets and pulled up to school in four wheelers."
During a recent visit to his hometown, he was recognized by a former classmate who once left him "mortified" for calling attention to the self-described late bloomer's then-hairless legs. "He wanted a selfie," Ritchson recalled.
"I was happy to oblige, but it felt strange," he said. "He forgot what he did, but I didn’t. I still don’t like wearing shorts."
The bully wasn't an outlier: Ritchson says he gets recognized all the time as the Reacher hero. "We were just at a Waffle House in a small Georgia town. They couldn’t process why I was there," he said.