Bradley Cooper Says Portraying Chris Kyle In ‘American Sniper’ Was ‘Life Changing’

Bradley Cooper confessed that playing Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in American Sniper was a life changing experience, but he is not talking about how much money the movie is making at the box office.

The hunky star said Monday, during the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, that he never imagined the controversy the story about the late SEAL — the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history — would create. American Sniper is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name, in which Kyle recounts how he killed 162 people during four tours in Iraq. It is also the third of Bradley Cooper’s movies that landed him an Academy Award nomination.

American Sniper poster

“You never know when you make a movie if anybody’s going to see it. So to have the audacity to think that it would cause any sort of effect would be pretty presumptuous.”

“You also never think about whether you’re going to wind up here (Best Actor nominee). But you hope people are going to watch it and hope that it has some impact.”

Bradley Cooper — who has been praised by Kyle’s family — director Clint Eastwood, and Warner Studios. created something so powerful with American Sniper that it is now the biggest selling war movie of all time, passing Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.

Hollywood and the public alike have been divided about Kyle’s story, powerfully portrayed by Cooper. By now, we all know of the Michael Moore comments, which suggested he was attacking Kyle for being a “coward,” Seth Rogen inserted himself in the debate as well, and received strong backlash on social media. Both later (somewhat) retracted their statements.

U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle,

Rob Lowe, Dean Cain, Gary Sinise, and even Jane Fonda came out in support of Bradley Cooper and American Sniper. However, the 40-year-old actor focused his comments on the personal aspect of the movie.

“The responsibility to play a human being when his family is still alive and it’s still fresh was a huge endeavor and something that I knew was going to be important. I treated it in way I hadn’t before. Kyle was murdered two years to the day today, on Feb. 2, 2013.”

“(Kyle’s) wife, Taya, gave us everything. I had thousands of hours of footage of him. So it was a completely different thing of allowing him to come inside me, basically.”

“I just really loved this story and it’s changed over the years. He was murdered a year and a half into our development and it changed everything. It became a different movie. It became more about the plight of the soldier and his family.”

The actor is not sure whether he has fully realized the impact Chris Kyle’s story has had on him, but he knows it has affected him deeply.

“I don’t think I’ll realize it fully until maybe later in my life,” Bradley Cooper said of his role in American Sniper. “It was life changing. Completely.”

[Image via Photo Works / Shutterstock]