‘Reacher’ Star Alan Ritchson Says He Was Supposed to Be MCU’s Thor, but He Didn’t Take Audition ‘Seriously’

Thor was almost even bigger — from a muscle mass perspective, at least.

“Reacher” star Alan Ritchson told Men’s Health that he was the frontrunner for the MCU role back in 2011 — until he mailed in the audition.

More from IndieWire

“I didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “I was like, ‘They’ll throw me the part if I look like the guy; nobody really cares about acting.'”

It seems they did. After the audition, the casting directors told Ritchson’s team the role “had been his to lose,” as the magazine wrote, but Ritchson “hadn’t shown that he had ‘the craft.'” The rest is MCU (and Chris Hemsworth’s bank account’s) history. Hemsworth, it should be stated, is no slouch in the looks-like-Thor department either.

To his credit, Ritchson took the fallout from the flubbed audition far more seriously than the audition itself. He brought the “Avengers” scenes to an acting coach, with whom he practiced them for three weeks. Ritchson then joined a high-level acting class led by Deborah Aquila, who cast “The Shawshank Redemption” (and is now EVP of casting at Paramount Television Studios and CBS Studios).

Ritchson isn’t just some dude big enough to make for a much more believable Reacher than Tom Cruise. He studied theater arts at Northwest Florida State, nearly made it on an early “American Idol” season (he was cut after Round 2), played Aquaman on “Smallville,” and starred as Thad Castle on Spike TV football comedy “Blue Mountain State.”

“Blue Mountain State” was canceled in 2011 — and Ritchson hit a wall.

“I just sort of expected that there would be a cornucopia of comedies for me to choose from, and nobody really wanted to see me for anything,” he said.

Well, he’s impossible to miss now as the star of Amazon Prime Video hit “Reacher.”

“Reacher” Season 3 was ordered in December and the cast (now including Anthony Michael Hall and Sonya Cassidy) is currently shooting in Toronto. Ritchson will get an executive producer credit on that season. “Reacher” Season 2 was the number 1 title (including series and movies) on Prime Video worldwide in 2023 during every respective series or film’s premiere weekend, per Amazon.

Amazon MGM Studios, Skydance, and Paramount Television Studios’ “Reacher” is based on the novels by Lee Child, who is an executive producer on the series. Nick Santora (“Prison Break”) is showrunner.

Oh, and before you go and Google, Men’s Health asked and Ritchson answered: he benches 355 lbs.

You can currently see Ritchson alongside Hilary Swank in Lionsgate film “Ordinary Angels,” in theaters now. Presumably, he took that audition seriously.

Best of IndieWire

Sign up for Indiewire's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.