American Sniper‘s high-octane trailer is expected to pull a lot of moviegoers to the theater on Christmas Day, part of which is due to the double draw of Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper — two names that bridge a steep generational gap between audiences. Clint is known for his adaptations of struggle-laden true stories, and American Sniper definitely won’t be the first time that Bradley has taken on the hero’s role.
While each man’s track record in the American soldier genre indicates that American Sniper is going to be a huge holiday hit, there was one particular audience member that Eastwood and Cooper were concerned about heading into production: American Sniper author Chris Kyle’s father, Wayne.
The American Sniper father himself had some choice words for Clint and Bradley when they first approached him about the project. Namely, that they be implored to give his son the hero’s representation that he felt he deserved. He told the Daily Mail that the interaction went something like this.
“Disrespect my son and I’ll unleash hell on you.”
Thankfully for Eastwood and Cooper, Wayne was appeased by their visit and was able to trust them to make American Sniper a true representation of his son. Chris’ father was apprehensive after seeing some of the ways Hollywood has portrayed the military in the past, but Clint and Bradley’s visit prior to filming assuaged his fear that American Sniper would insult the memory of his deceased son.
“I know what Hollywood can do and how it can change things… Both Mr. Eastwood and Mr. Cooper were men I could trust. They were very open and engaging and did not want to hide anything… They looked me in the eye and told me they would honor my son’s memory. That was good enough for me.”
Those familiar with how the subject of American Sniper’s life ended may be more understanding why Wayne was hesitant to see his son’s story turned into film. Chris was shot by a fellow veteran with PTSD when he took him to a shooting range in February 2013. Clint has stated that his death will only be a footnote to the film, without any graphic depiction of the day that the American Sniper died.
“I liked them both. The fact that they came to Texas to meet with me showed they were serious about what they were going to do… I liked Mr. Cooper. He was very respectful and honest and so was Mr. Eastwood.”
Are you going to see Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper with Bradley Cooper?
[Image via Warner Bros.]