Cruise's casting as the 6'5", blond-haired ex-military cop caused controversy among hardcore Reacher fans, but McQuarrie insisted that Cruise has all the right attributes to play the character.
McQuarrie told Digital Spy of Cruise: "More than anything else his mindset, his attitude, the way he handles pressure. Reacher is very much a character who does not let pressure get to him. He becomes very calm and very focused under pressure. Tom's very much the same way."
Jack Reacher's central action sequence is an extended car chase through the streets of Pittsburgh, a set piece that saw Cruise do all his own driving.
"That was less challenging than getting two people into a diner to have a conversation," McQuarrie said. "Action to me is something very fun to shoot. The challenge in most car chases is you're trying to hide the fact that it's not the actor driving.
"The challenge here was the exact opposite. We were trying to find a way to show that it was always Tom driving. He's literally driving in every stunt sequence."
Jack Reacher opens in cinemas on December 26.