American Sniper is a project that attracted such prestigious names as directors David O. Russell and Steven Spielberg during pre-production, before it eventually landed multi-Oscar winner Clint Eastwood as its helmsman. The film is based on the true story of the late Chris Kyle, who is said to be the most lethal (as is, the one with the most confirmed kills) sniper in U.S. history.
Bradley Cooper is both a producer and star for the film; as you can see in the first trailer (watch it above), the Oscar-nominated actor put on a fair amount of muscle - in addition to growing a beard and adapting a different accent - in order for him to more accurately portray Kyle onscreen. The first American Sniper teaser is also quite intense in terms of its construction and editing - further cementing this movie's status as a potential awards-season contender this year.
The American Sniper script is based on Kyle's memoir "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History" and was penned by Jason Dean Hall, whose previous screenwriting efforts (Spread, Paranoia) were far from being success stories, critically or financially. However, judging by the intriguing subject matter and caliber of filmmaking talent which it's managed to attract in the past, it seems as though this screenplay could be the one that finally puts Hall's name on the map.
Cooper is joined in the American Sniper movie by Sienna Miller as Taya Renae Kyle (Chris Kyle's wife), in addition to Luke Grimes (Brothers & Sisters), Jake McDorman (Shameless), and Sam Jaeger (Parenthood), among others. Miller, as it were, will also be costarring in another buzzed-about 2014 drama that was inspired by real events - the upcoming Foxcatcher, from director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) - which is to say, she looks to finish the year on a hight note.
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Eastwood's directorial efforts over the past few years (Hereafter, J. Edgar, Jersey Boys) have all earned rather middle of the road receptions from critics and general filmgoing audiences; neither great nor terrible reviews, mind you, but decidedly unremarkable (and, at worst, his recent movies are perceived as being quite boring). That is to say, cinephiles tend to not get quite so excited as they once did, when they hear the Hollywood icon has a new film coming out, nowadays.
Will American Sniper mark a change of pace? If nothing else, this movie should go down as having the best trailer for an Eastwood film in recent memory. The flick is also something of a passion project for Cooper, and it seems possible that Kyle's tale has, similarly, re-energized Eastwood's sensibilities as a cinematic storyteller.
American Sniper begins a limited U.S. theatrical release on December 25th, 2014; it goes wide on January 16th, 2015.
Source: Warner Bros.