From director Clint Eastwood “American Sniper” opens limited December 25, 2014 and nationwide on January 16, 2015.
“American Sniper” stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, whose skills as a sniper made him a hero on the battlefield. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and, as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend.” However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He is also facing a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world. Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, personifying the spirit of the SEAL creed to “leave no one behind.” But upon returning to his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind. A two-time Oscar nominee for his work in “Silver Linings Playbook” and “American Hustle,” Cooper heads the cast, which also includes Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Cory Hardrict, Kevin Lacz, Navid Negahban and Keir O’Donnell.
Cory Hardrict plays D in the film. Read our exclusive interview below:
Q: So tell me about the role you play in this film.
Cory: I play D, he was a gentleman who served with Chris Kyle. He was one of his good friends, and he’s in Afghanistan to this day. Tough guy, menacing, but he has a great heart, and he’s there to fulfill a purpose of the task at hand.
Q: And did you get to speak with him and Skype with him?
Cory: Yeah. I spoke with him on Skype and e-mail, and he told me don’t mess this up or he’ll kill me … but he’s a good guy!
Q: And what most surprised you about this world?
Cory: I’ve done four films like this, so I was used to it, but this film was a little more personal because it’s a real story, it’s true, you know what I’m saying? So you want to make sure you play these characters true to form as much as you can. And it was an honor for me just to play this guy and do the best job I could do and hopefully I made everyone proud, so hopefully I made him proud, too.
Q: Speak about working with the legendary Mr.Clint Eastwood.
Cory: I worked with him on “Gran Torino” before, it was like five years ago … It was a smaller role, but he’s great, he’s awesome. He’s the best director in the world, and I would love to keep working with him. He’s a real down to earth guy and he was great, he loves his actors, he let’s you just be why he hired you and that means a lot.
Q: Did you have to go through any kind of boot camp training for this?
Cory: Yeah, we had a two week boot camp with the weapons and stuff like that, and after that we did some training to get in shape, but it was awesome!
Q: I hear Bradley gives an incredible transformation. Can you speak about watching him be this character?
Cory: Yeah, he gained forty pounds of muscle … he was eating eight-thousand calories a day just gaining weight and it was great.
Q: And this holiday season, what are you most thankful for?
Cory: To be alive, and have a beautiful family, and just to be in “American Sniper.”
Eastwood directed “American Sniper” from a screenplay written by Jason Hall, based on the book by Chris Kyle. Read what Hall, who is also an executive producer, told us exclusively below.
Q: So how did the material first come to you?
Jason: You know, I met Chris before there was a memoir. I met him in 2010 and there was no book yet, but I knew there was going to be a book, and we had struck up a friendship. So I proceeded along with that and when the book came out, honestly nobody wanted it. Nobody else wanted it, nobody saw where the story was and we were primed and geared up to go and we were able to lock it down.
Q: And what was that process like, both adapting the book, but having Chris as a resource? Did you merge the two?
Jason: Yeah, I did, and I got to learn a lot from Chris, and I’d ask him questions and pester him all the time. And the story of the enemy sniper came out through some of those phone calls on how this was Chris’ doppelgänger and his mirror in a lot of ways. And it was great to get to know Chris, and then I turned in the script, and the next day he was murdered … So it was also very tragic and traumatic, and I went on to get to know his wife after the funeral and we spent a lot of time on the phone, and her story to me was, you need to get this right, you need to get it right, because this is how my kids are going to remember their dad some day. And so we spent a lot of time, all of us, in trying to get this right.
Q: And so at what point did Mr. Eastwood come on board, and what were those meetings like?
Jason: It’s Clint Eastwood, so it’s an interesting meeting, and you’re sitting across from a legend, and he said “you wrote a good script kid,” and I was like okay. It’s exciting because he brings so much truth and authenticity to his films. So it was a genuine excitement on my part.
Q: Having known the real man and seeing Bradley transform into him, what was that like?
Jason: It was fantastic. Bradley did a bang-up job, I mean, in my wildest dreams I couldn’t imagine any actor being able to create such a close facsimile to Chris Kyle, and Bradley captured this man in not only body and voice, but in his spirit and it was beautiful. His wife stumbled out of the theater after seeing the movie for the first time and gave me a big hug, and she said, “you brought my husband back to life.”
Q: Tell me a little bit about how they made the film authentic.
Jason: We had some Seals who had been there and were our technical advisers in the process, and they were instrumental in being able to reproduce some of that, some of that authenticity.
Q: What was the most difficult scene for you to watch?
Jason: There’s a scene in a garage, where another soldier comes up, and he salutes him, and thanks him for his service. And that was hard for me, because I know it was hard for Chris to accept that that gratitude and to be called a hero, when he felt like there was still so much left to do.
Q: What do you hope people learn from this film?
Jason: I hope they would learn about the sacrifice, not only of Chris Kyle, but of every soldier out there, and what they encounter and what they endure when they send them off to war.