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Posted March 16, 2015 by admin in Resource
 
 

Catatan Produksi Film American Sniper (2014)


About the Production

“…I have to tell you: it’s not the people you saved that you remember. It’s the ones you couldn’t save… Those are the faces and situations that stay with you forever.” –┬áChris Kyle, from the book American Sniper

Chris Kyle might have been just one of the millions of veterans who have served were it not for a statistic. He emerged from the war in Iraq as the most lethal sniper in the history of the U.S. military, but the filmmakers of “American Sniper” knew it was equally if not more important to explore the man behind the numbers.

Director/producer Clint Eastwood offers, “I have done war stories before, but this was exciting to me because it was a cross between Chris’s exploits in combat and the personal aspects of his life, which made him even more interesting. It shows the toll war takes on a person but also the pressure it puts on the whole family. It’s good to be reminded of what’s at stake when people are sent into war and to acknowledge the sacrifices they make, so I thought that made it an especially significant story to tell.”

Bradley Cooper, who stars in the title role and also served as a producer on the film, adds, “In some ways, it’s a universal story about what most veterans have to go through-dealing with the seesaw of being in a war zone and then suddenly coming home to a ‘normal’ life. That was very moving to me. I liked the fact that it wasn’t as much of a war movie as it was a character study. And if you look at Clint Eastwood’s films, like ‘Unforgiven,’ ‘Gran Torino,’ ‘Letters from Iwo Jima’…they are all complex character studies, albeit with very different backdrops. So he was absolutely the right director to tell this story in a very raw, truthful way.”

The actor goes on to observe that “American Sniper” and the human drama at its center fit the Eastwood canon: exploring the nature of men for whom violence and justice become inexorably intertwined. “Chris was not a violent man-in fact, far from it-but when called upon, he did not shrink from his duty because he believed the cause is just. His heroism wasn’t just in the number of ‘kills’ he had in war; it was also in how he was ultimately able to confront the intangible wounds of war, not only within himself but on his family.”

The screenplay for “American Sniper” is based on the book of the same name, co-written by Kyle (with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice). However, screenwriter and executive producer Jason Hall first spoke to Kyle about bringing his story to the big screen before the book was even written. He recalls, “I was interested in the journey of a warrior of his caliber…what compelled him to fight and what it cost him. We know that war is hell, but in this film I wanted to show that war is human.”

Eastwood’s longtime producing partner Robert Lorenz says, “We were intrigued by Jason’s take because it was so well-balanced and offered a more complete picture of Chris and what he went through, both on the battlefront and on the homefront.”

Chris Kyle lived according to a simple code: God. Country. Family. They weren’t just words to him; they were the foundation for a life devoted to duty, service and an unwavering dedication to something greater than himself. The extraordinary demands of his job as a Navy SEAL, as well as the burdens that placed on those who loved him most, especially his wife, Taya, ultimately forced him to re-examine the order of those three precepts, but never his commitment to them.

Eastwood attests, “Chris grew up with that mantra. It was also instilled in him from childhood that there are some people who are born to be protectors, and he knew it was his calling to be one of them. That’s part of what drove him to keep going back to do more tours, even though he was faced with the quandary of leaving his family behind. He was just one of those guys who was always willing to go above and beyond.”

Kyle’s reputation had preceded him home and first caught the attention of producers Peter Morgan and Andrew Lazar, as well as Hall. Morgan notes, “We heard about all his accolades as a Navy SEAL and obviously knew what a great patriot he was, but the more we delved, what kept coming across was what a genuinely good person he was…how loved and admired he was by his family, friends and those who served alongside him. We wanted to form a story around the emotional themes of his life, the different things that drove him.”

Prior to starting work on the script, Hall traveled to Texas to meet with Kyle. “He wasn’t very talkative at first,” the writer says, “but by the time I left I felt like I’d worked out a way to tell the story and earned his trust. Then, as I was walking out the door, he said, ‘Oh, by the way, we’re writing a book.’ The book seemed like it could be an obstacle at first, but it ended up being a fantastic resource.”

Producer Andrew Lazar confirms, “We were committed to telling this story long before there was a best-selling book. But because of the book, we had the benefit of Chris’s point of view, which, of course, really informed what we did in developing the film and in imparting his story to the best of our ability.”

Still, there was another side of Kyle that Hall had seen firsthand and that he wanted to capture in the screenplay. “It would have been easy to make this film entirely about his time in the war, but Chris was a more complicated person than that. The book was written less than a year after he came home, so he still had that armor on. It didn’t really present the softer side of Chris-the loving husband and father-and some of the more desperate moments he and Taya had struggled through in the brief times between those four deployments. And while this war seemed so far away, the families of soldiers were more connected than ever by use of satphones. Taya heard some terrifying things on those calls, but that was her lifeline to him, and I also believe her voice helped him find his way home. I don’t think I fully understood who Chris was until I met Taya.”

“There is a lot of intense action,” Eastwood says, “but the soul of the film and what drives the story are the relationships: between Chris and his brothers in arms and, in particular, between Chris and Taya, which is the most important relationship in the picture. Chris was obviously crazy about her, but, by the same token, he was committed to fulfilling the demands his country was placing upon him.”

Sienna Miller, who portrays Taya Kyle, offers, “At its essence, this is a human story between two people: one of whom is doing these extraordinary, unimaginable things so far from home and the other who is trying to hold her family together. Chris’s sense of duty was so immeasurably strong because of who he inherently was. He believed if he was home with his family more people would die, and that’s a tremendous moral dilemma to be faced with. As hard as it was for her, I think Taya understood his plight and was trying to be patient and supportive of her husband, but that can be a hard thing to navigate when children are involved and, inside, you’re imploding. It made it a fascinating and poignant story to be part of and, having met Taya, I felt a responsibility to do it justice.”

Cooper, who underwent a complete transformation to portray the more physically imposing Kyle, shared that sentiment, but states, “I never felt burdened by the responsibility; I was only honored by it. It seemed like a great opportunity to pay respect to his service and to that of other veterans. I loved every moment of walking in his shoes, every moment of it.”

On February 2, 2013, an unimaginable tragedy turned the filmmakers’ sense of responsibility into a promise. Chris Kyle-who had survived four dangerous tours of duty in Iraq and had devoted his post-war life to helping his fellow veterans-was murdered not far from his home on a shooting range in Texas, allegedly by a veteran he was trying to help. “I had never met him at that point; I had only talked to him on the phone,” says Cooper, “and then, like that, he was gone.”

Following the funeral, Hall reached out to Taya and they spent many hours on the phone as she recounted her life with Chris. “The film suddenly became one of the ways her children would remember their father and she wanted to get it right,” says Hall. “It was not only therapeutic for her, it also allowed me to capture her voice in her own words. She painted a picture of who he was before the war, the unspoken toll it took on him, and all the healing it took him to get back.”

Almost exactly one year later, Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper traveled to Texas to meet with Chris’s family, including Taya; his parents, Wayne and Debbie; and his brother, Jeff. The director recalls, “It was vital for me to spend that time with them because we got a much better idea of who Chris was from his family, who are wonderful. We came away with a combination of sadness over the loss of this remarkable man but even more enthusiasm about making this film.”

“We gave them our word that we were going to do right by Chris,” Cooper adds. “And the truth is I really did feel like he was there.”

Taya Kyle confirms that the promise was fulfilled, noting, “I give all the credit to Jason for spending so much time digging deep and learning about all the layers of Chris, and to Clint and Bradley and everyone involved in the movie for so fully embracing that. It is an added bonus for me to know that people will get a glimpse into the man that I loved and will always love, and to have that preserved on film. This movie is a piece of Chris. It is an accurate depiction of the man as a whole-not just the warrior, but the man-and I can’t ask for better than that.”

Cooper remarks, “When Chris says in the movie, ‘I’d lay down my life for my country,’ you know he means it. And then to see the journey he goes on… It doesn’t make him a martyr. It doesn’t make him anything other than just a man. But that’s the kind of man he was.”

 

Recruitment and Training

In “American Sniper” we get a glimpse of how Chris became the man he was, beginning as a boy in Texas, when his dad first teaches him and his brother about the three types of people in the world: the predator, the prey or the protector. And in that instant, without him even being aware, Chris’s course is set. Cooper offers, “I think Chris is hardwired to be a man dedicated to protecting others and that mission statement is seen throughout his life. In many ways, his protective instinct and the price he pays for it is what the whole movie is about.”

“He was a big, strong kid who believed in fighting for the underdog,” Eastwood adds. “That carried into his role as a sniper; his job was to watch over the troops on the ground and keep them safe from an enemy they could not see.”

Cooper knew that taking on the role of Chris Kyle would test him both physically and mentally but welcomed the challenge. He notes, “There wasn’t a way to do the movie without being Chris, not mimicking him but embodying him completely. I needed to figure out how he walked and talked and to try to get as big as he was to even begin to get to a point where I could believe I was him because if I didn’t believe it, no one else would either. I watched everything ever recorded of him many times and did as much research as I could.”

The actor worked with dialect coach Tim Monich to perfect Kyle’s Texas drawl. The job of bulking up his frame was more physically demanding, involving a strict workout regimen with trainer Jason Walsh, as well as calorie loading to pack on the weight. “Chris was 230 pounds of muscle and I was about 185 pounds at the time, so it was three months of constant eating and working out. It was tough,” Cooper acknowledges.

“When your system isn’t naturally inclined to go in that direction, you have to kind of work at it around the clock, and he did,” says Eastwood. “I don’t think I ever saw him off camera without some kind of shake or nutrition bar. By the last day, he was saying, ‘Thank God I don’t have to eat anymore.'”

Having spent more personal time with Kyle than any of the filmmakers, Jason Hall could attest, “I know it meant a lot to Chris that Bradley was willing to be put through his paces to become him. But on top of transforming his voice and his body, Bradley picked up the more innate elements of Chris Kyle. I’d be watching the monitor and he’d stand or look a certain way…just his aura would send goose bumps down my arms. I was like, ‘Holy cow, that’s Chris.’ It was uncanny.”

Taya agrees. “When people see this movie, they will get the heart, the soul, the character of the real Chris…the spirit and the heart of the man with the pain and the triumphs and everything he went through. Bradley captured all of that.”

Eastwood also respected Cooper’s complete immersion into the role, stating, “Bradley’s enthusiasm and work ethic was unparalleled. He was totally invested in the job and never stopped thinking about how to make every aspect of the project the best it could be.”

It turned out that Cooper and Kyle had shared an equal admiration for Eastwood. “I was told that Chris had said he always wanted Clint Eastwood to direct ‘American Sniper,'” the actor reveals, “and I have always wanted to work with Clint, so it felt so good for him to say, ‘Come on, let’s make this movie together.'”

“Both Chris and I thought Clint Eastwood would be ideal,” Taya confirms, “but believed it was a pie-in-the-sky idea. Then, after Chris died and I heard that Clint had agreed to do it, I had a minute where I was just in awe and I gave a nod up to Heaven like, ‘You did it, Chris.’ It was just one of those moments where I felt like okay, it could’ve just happened. But really? I mean to get Clint Eastwood for a Chris Kyle movie; it couldn’t be more perfect.”

“I absolutely loved Clint’s fast-paced style, his efficient use of time,” says Cooper. “And he opened up the filmmaking process to me and allowed me to collaborate on a level that was very beneficial to me and to my performance.”

“Working with Clint was the most creatively liberating experience I’ve ever had,” Sienna Miller concurs. “He is so trusting, so instinctual and so confident in his ability to know when he has what he needs; it just forces this freedom in you as an actor. There’s no one cooler in the world than Clint Eastwood. That is a fact.”

As Taya, the love of Chris Kyle’s life, Miller wanted to convey the passion they share as well as the emotional challenges her character faces as the wife of a Navy SEAL. It was also essential to show Taya’s unique spirit. “She’s a feisty lady,” Miller states. “She knows what she wants, she doesn’t suffer fools and she’s sharp, as you can tell from the first time we see her in the bar where she meets Chris. They instantly have chemistry, though Taya has apprehensions about what he does for a living. But Chris is so disarming and sincere that her preconceptions about him are very quickly dissipated. I think she realizes she’s met her man.”

Robert Lorenz asserts, “The role of Taya demanded somebody who could dig in and hold her own against the legendary figure of Chris Kyle. The real Taya is someone who gave balance to Chris because she is such a strong personality, and Sienna does the same thing in the movie-balancing the performance that Bradley gave with a terrifically moving one of her own.”

“Taya matches Chris in energy and strength,” adds Cooper, “so there’s a lot of fire and a lot of love and also a lot of pain in their relationship.”

Miller says, “Going in, Taya knows that Chris lives by the ethos of God, country, family, in that order. She does her best to be patient and understanding, but I’ve spoken to Taya about this, and the reality is that, as a wife, being third on that list is brutal.”

The actress adds that she gained tremendous insight about her role directly from the woman she was portraying. “I first met Taya via Skype and we talked on the phone a lot, and then she came to L.A. before we started shooting and we spent a day together talking, hugging, laughing and crying. It was extraordinary. She’s a truly formidable woman and I admire her hugely for her resilience. I also appreciate her graciousness and her being as accommodating as she was in helping me identify with how she felt during those years.”

Taya Kyle recalls, “There was a time I was showing her a video clip of Chris and some pictures that I had on my laptop, and I remember her suddenly looking at me and saying, ‘Wow, you really loved him.’ And there was something about the way she said it-because I had talked to her before, and she knew I loved him. But in that instant, I think she understood that this was a love that was life-changing, and that I will never have an experience like it again. When she got that, I realized that she was going to bring it to the movie. And she did.”

Cooper says that Miller was not the only one who benefited from the input of the woman who endured her husband being in harm’s way through four tours of duty in Iraq. “Taya was a tremendous asset to the entire film. She revealed so much of their life to me and Sienna, allowing us to read many of their email exchanges and describing certain scenarios. She was so generous about sharing personal details of their relationship so we could really understand what it was like for them to be together.”

“Bradley said to me many times that they owe it to me for being so being so open and giving us all this detail, but I think quite the opposite is true,” Taya asserts. “I owe it to all of them for caring enough to get all the details.”

Apart from Taya and their children, Chris Kyle had close-knit extended family in the men of SEAL Team 3, which Andrew Lazar calls “a true brotherhood. SEAL Teams are tasked with some of the most dangerous missions in the military; they are dealing with life and death every day, so the bonds they form are extremely strong. And you need that in order to survive.”

Jason Hall adds, “You ask any of these guys why they serve, why they are willing to go back over and over, and they’ll say they are fighting for their country, which is true. But when you get down to the bare bones of it, they will tell you, ‘I was fighting for the guys next to me.'”

One of the men who fought alongside the real Chris Kyle on SEAL Team 3 was Kevin Lacz, better known to his compatriots by his nickname, Dauber. As part of Kyle’s inner circle, Lacz became a vital resource for the production, providing essential details about their deployments to the filmmakers and cast and eventually coming onboard as the film’s Navy technical advisor. But he soon took on another role-that of himself in the film.

Lacz recalls, “I was training Bradley to do some long range sniper work and he said, ‘Did you ever consider playing yourself in the movie?’ I wasn’t sure about my acting skills, but I put a video together, Clint looked at it and liked it and there we were.”

On set, Lacz’s firsthand accounts of the team’s exploits in Iraq proved invaluable. Cooper attests, “He would add little Chris anecdotes or things Chris would do. He also guided us in the specific ways the team would operate, which dictated how we filmed certain scenes. I can’t even imagine having done the movie without him.”

For Lacz, stepping onto the set was like stepping back in time. “I’ve been out of the Navy for a few years, but once I donned the uniform, I did feel like I was back in Iraq at times. The set design was awesome, so visually I was there, and then it was just about trying to get into the mindset of being a Team guy again. It’s not the same, but you get that emotion, that visceral feeling, when you recreate those moments. It was powerful to me, and I know it was powerful to everybody who was on set watching. It makes you come back and reflect every day.”

Eastwood cast an ensemble of young actors to play the other members of Seal Team 3. Jake McDorman plays Ryan Job, who was saddled on his first day of SEAL training with the unfortunate nickname Biggles because “he was a little heavier than your average applicant,” McDorman acknowledges. “And the instant an embarrassing nickname is thrown out, there’s no undoing it. It’s permanent.”

Biggles and Chris Kyle become fast friends during their punishing SEAL training, where Chris’s actions are emblematic of his natural protective streak. McDorman explains, “Biggles is struggling and Chris notices that and tries to take the pressure off him by putting the attention on himself. His support gives Biggles the best chance to succeed, and Biggles is able to rise to the occasion and prevail. It formed the bond that lasted for the rest of their years together-a pledge of commitment that, no matter how hard it gets, you’re not going to abandon one of your brothers.”

Joining their band of brothers were Cory Hardrict as D; Luke Grimes as Marc Lee; Eric Laden as Squirrel; and Ray Gallegos as Tony.

While it was nowhere near as grueling as what real SEAL applicants endure, the actors assembled by Eastwood to be SEAL Team 3 did go through a kind of boot camp in order to portray accurately members of the Navy’s elite Special Forces. They were trained under the tutelage of Lacz and the film’s military advisor, James D. Dever, a former Marine, who previously worked with the director on “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters From Iwo Jima.”

“We had to learn how to properly hold a gun, how they enter and clear a room, and the correct lingo,” Grimes says. “We were constantly reminded that we weren’t just doing it for the camera; we were doing it for the guys who were there and the ones who are still there, and we took that very seriously.”

Adds Hardrict, “We just tried to stay focused and do our best because, at the end of the day, this was an acting job. But for the men we were playing, it was real life. When it was time for them to put on the gear and go out on the battlefield, it was all business, and we wanted to do that justice.”

“Every one of the actors gave their all to telling this story,” Eastwood remarks. “I was so grateful for their dedication and their appreciation for the people who actually put on that uniform every day. Regardless of the conditions, there were no complaints. It was just about getting the job done and done right.”

Bradley Cooper underwent particularly specialized preparation to become a believable SEAL sniper, which entailed much more than firing a gun. The actor details, “I trained with the .338 Lapua, a .300 Win Mag and MK11, which are the three sniper rifles Chris used, and just becoming comfortable with those weapons was imperative. But there is this other quality-the ability to operate in very high-pressure situations in a way that’s extremely methodical. It’s fascinating what they have to know: how to be prone on a gun; how you have to have your feet in a certain place and even control your breathing. And then there’s how long these guys stay on the gun. Kevin and I talked about how Chris could stay on the gun for eight hours without moving, which is an incredible feat.”

“Bradley did not leave any stone unturned when it came to the level of detail he went to in playing Chris,” praises Lacz. “He was like a sponge; he picked everything up so quickly. His intrinsic motivation really set him apart from anyone else I’ve ever worked with outside the actual Teams. He was a natural.”

In the film, Chris Kyle’s legendary prowess with a rifle is rivaled by an enemy sniper named Mustafa, played by Sammy Sheik. “He’s a Syrian sharpshooter who competed for his country in the Olympics,” says Sheik. “Now he’s come to Iraq with the goal of fighting for the insurgents against their common enemy. I thought he was a fascinating character even though he does not say one word the entire film. But everything had a rhythm to it. Clint would tell me, ‘Take it slow; this guy is cool under stress.'”

Peter Morgan expounds, “The Iraqis have dubbed Chris the ‘Devil of Ramadi’ and put a bounty on his head and Mustafa is after him. He also poses a major threat to the Americans on the ground, so it becomes a key part of Chris’s personal mission to take him out. And who better in the history of cinema to track two marksmen pursuing each other than Clint Eastwood?” he smiles.

Adding impetus to Chris’s mission, one of the Marines on the ground is his own brother, Jeff, who joined the Corps “to follow in his brother’s footsteps,” says Keir O’Donnell, who was cast in the role. “Jeff idolizes Chris for many reasons, stemming from the fact that Chris always stood up for him from the time they were kids. And their family dynamic, just having those Texas, Americana roots, is that fighting for our country is a very heroic thing.”

Completing the Kyle family, Ben Reed and Elise Robertson appear as Chris’s parents, Wayne and Debbie, and Cole Konis and Luke Sunshine are seen respectively as Chris and Jeff in their younger years. The cast of “American Sniper” also includes Navid Negahban as Sheikh Al-Obodi, and Mido Hamada as the merciless Iraqi enforcer who demonstrates how he earned the name “The Butcher.”

 

Deployment and Homecoming

Shooting on “American Sniper” began on location in Rabat, Morocco, which doubled for war-torn Iraq. Eastwood notes, “The architecture of Morocco is very much like Iraq. You can build sets anywhere to capture a style, but for wide shots that establish the atmosphere of whole towns or cities…that’s harder to mimic, so Morocco was a great option.”

Starting principal photography halfway around the world served a dual purpose. In addition to Morocco providing the perfect backdrop, “it bonded the actors playing SEAL Team 3 just by the fact that we were together so much more than if we were going home every night,” says Cooper. “Being in such a foreign place also enabled us to better imagine what it was like to be in a country so far from home, so we gleaned a lot from being in Rabat.”

The cast and filmmakers also benefited from the cooperation of the local authorities and Moroccan people, who allowed the production to take over entire neighborhoods. Members of the Moroccan Army even served as extras for some scenes.

When filming was completed in Morocco, the company returned to California for the remainder of principal photography. Eastwood’s longtime production designer James J. Murakami and production designer Charisse Cardenas, working with the director for the first time, took a two-prong approach to the film, with Cardenas concentrating on the military sequences and Murakami overseeing the homefront.

Cardenas relates, “I did quite a bit of research on Iraq, focusing on Ramadi, Fallujah and Sadyr City, and took notes from Chris Kyle’s own descriptions of his tours of duty. Our location team in Morocco was also an integral part in helping us achieve the right look for his years in country.”

The production took over the Blue Cloud Ranch in Santa Clarita, California, where the art department re-created an urban Iraqi environment, closely mirroring the Morocco locations. Much of Chris’s Ramadi tour of duty was filmed at the ranch

One of the climactic battle sequences in “American Sniper” was filmed in the desert town of El Centro, about 100 miles east of San Diego in the arid Imperial Valley. There, the design team converted an old milk processing plant into an abandoned date factory, where Chris and his team are jeopardized by two unrelenting forces: an overwhelming number of Iraqi insurgents who are advancing on their position from every direction; and a massive sand storm that threatens to envelop them. The storm was generated via a blend of special and visual effects, with the VFX team, led by Michael Owens, also augmenting the sets, as well as the hoard of enemy soldiers.

To bring the audience directly into the action, Eastwood and cinematographer Tom Stern employed state-of-the-art Blackmagic cameras. Utilizing both handheld and fixed cameras, strategically positioned throughout the sets, they were able to create the sensation of being in the thick of battle.

Jason Hall remarks, “Clint has this inherent ability to know where the truth is in every frame, and he lets the audience find it in the same way that he finds it. He brought a grittiness to the movie and a sort of sand-in-your-mouth feeling, where it felt authentic and didn’t feel like something that was trying to wring emotion out of you or manipulate you in any way. He lets it happen and then brings the audience along on the journey.”

Two different locations became the training ground for Chris Kyle and his fellow SEAL candidates. The Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains served as the backdrop for the sniper course where Chris proves his targeting skills. Leo Carillo State Beach in Malibu stood in for the SEALs’ infamous BUD/s training center in Coronado, California, where the mettle of applicants is put to the ultimate test and only the best of the best earn the right to wear the SEAL Trident.

Though the actors were spared the worst of what real SEAL trainees withstand, there was no avoiding some physical tests. Cooper recalls, “It was brutal when we were doing the bicycle kicks while being sprayed with water, especially since Clint will sometimes let takes go on. I remember looking over at Dauber thinking, ‘If Dauber stops, then I can stop,’ but I wasn’t going to stop till he did,” he laughs.

Murakami largely focused his design efforts on the homes where Chris and Taya build their lives together. A modest house in Venice, California, was used for the young couple’s San Diego residence, Taya’s home base during Chris’s long deployments.

When Chris is, at last, home for good, he returns to his roots, bringing his family back to Midlothian. The Kyles’ Texas home was a house in Northridge, which was chosen because it reflected the openness and scale of Texas while still feeling neighborly. Art director Harry Otto comments, “James wanted the home to reflect a feeling of comfort and security as Chris begins to acclimate to his new life as a civilian.”

In designing the costumes for the film, Deborah Hopper says, “We did extensive research and had an array of pictures of Chris and Taya throughout their lives. It was important to us to stay as close to their own personal style as possible.”

Even in the military uniforms, especially those of the Navy SEALs, there was an element of individual tastes. Hopper’s department consulted with military advisors to ensure the verisimilitude of the uniforms, making sure every detail was accurate. However, she points out, “SEALs wear their uniforms in their own particular way, showcasing their personalities.”

Key armorer Michael Panevics and his team were responsible for the accuracy of the weaponry, paying close attention to continuity. Panevics explains, “Chris carried different weapons on each tour, but we were filming out of sequence, so we were constantly switching out rifles and side arms as we moved from one deployment to another.”

In his civilian life, “Chris wasn’t exactly a fashion icon,” Hopper smiles. “His style was relaxed and casual with a wardrobe consisting mostly of jeans and t-shirts or sweatshirts and his many baseball caps. In his post war years, Chris moved to Texas, where his look then reflected his Western roots. It was key to be true to the real people in every aspect of telling their story.”

“I’m really grateful that everybody involved in this movie went above and beyond what they had to do,” Taya Kyle states. “I feel like they did their job with more than they had to give, and that’s very fitting for a man who always gave more than he had to.”

Chris Kyle’s service to his country did not end when he took off his uniform. Cooper attests, “Like many coming home from war, it was tough for him because he was willing and able, but he wasn’t able to be over there protecting those still in harm’s way. It wasn’t until he started to find ways of assisting other veterans that he found his place.”

“He was very heroic in everything he did over there,” says Jason Hall, “but what he did back home was equally heroic. It’s important to recognize that these soldiers chose to serve, but they don’t choose their war. As soon as those boots hit the ground, they have a mission and they risk everything for us. The things they see and do are challenging for us to even comprehend, but if we’re going to ask them to do it, we have to be willing to open our arms to them when they come home.”

Taya offers, “I’ve heard it said that when you reach out your hand to help a veteran up, they won’t grab your hand with two hands; they grab it with one and then reach behind them and pull another veteran up with their other hand. It’s so true. I’m excited to see what people will do, either in honor of Chris’s life or because they learned something from the movie or the book. We all have the opportunity to do a lot of good for a lot of people who could really use it. In the end, what better life could we have lived than to know we impacted people in a positive way, and Chris did that. I think the movie is one more way for him to serve.”

Eastwood concludes, “Chris always went one step beyond in everything he did, and that extended to his work with veterans. Ultimately, that led to tragedy, but that’s not what makes him an important guy or what makes this an important story. What we all hope is that it will remind people of the sacrifices of soldiers and their families and make people even more appreciative of those who have given so much in service of their country.”

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