Last we heard, Steven Spielberg was gearing up to direct American Sniper, an adaptation of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s autobiography. Kyle was a Texas native who had the most confirmed kills of any soldier in American military history, and he met an untimely end earlier this year when a discharged veteran killed him at a shooting range back in the United States. Spielberg was set to make this his next directing gig after last year’s Lincoln, but now Deadline reports that The Beard has dropped out of the project altogether.
Bradley Cooper is still attached to produce and star in the drama, but we’re sad to see Spielberg walk from this one. This is the second false start for the director, as he recently delayed production on the sci-fi film Robopocalypse because he wasn’t 100% on board with Drew Goddard’s screenplay, but at least he’s still interested in that project and hopes to get it going again soon (though it likely won’t be the next thing he directs).
This film sounds like it would have been a more intimate, small-scale project that still had the action and suspense that Spielberg is so great at creating, and it’s a shame he won’t be working with Cooper on this because I was interested to see what kind of performance he could have pulled out of the Silver Linings Playbook actor. But American Sniper is actually more of a passion project for Cooper, who has been wanting to tell Kyle’s story for more than a year at this point, so we’re sure he’ll bring his A game when the cameras eventually start rolling on this one.
No word yet on a replacement director, or what Spielberg will move onto instead. Might David O. Russell step into the director’s chair? He definitely has a solid working relationship with Cooper – the actor received an Oscar nod for Silver Linings Playbook and has Russell’s American Hustle coming up next – and Russell is certainly familiar with military films, having directed Three Kings back in 1999. Time will tell, and we’ll keep you posted on how this all shakes out.
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