Oscar contender American Sniper is a film of staggering force but also one that isn’t afraid to depict the brutal, devastating effects of weapons used in modern warfare, which made it surprising when, instead of depicting the death of subject Chris Kyle at the hands of a troubled veteran he had been attempting to help, the biopic simply acknowledged his death with an intertitle.
Now, it has emerged that there is a very sad and relatable reason why director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Jason Hall chose to leave out any on-screen depiction of Kyle’s death. Early drafts of the script included the highly dramatic, tragic incident, but American Sniper ended up dropping it after a request from Kyle’s widow, Taya Kyle.
When interviewed on the red carpet for the Writer’s Guild Awards, Hall stated that:
“I was very cognizant, having two kids of my own, that these kids weren’t going to remember much of their father – at four and six – and I didn’t want this movie to be the thing hanging over their heads for the rest of their lives, as the film that showed their father getting shot in the back of his head.”
Before deciding to leave the scene on the cutting room floor, Hall and the other filmmakers involved with American Sniper grappled with whether there was an appropriate way to shoot the scene:
“We talked about putting it in, I wrote it. We went around and around. We wrote it five different ways and talked about how we would shoot it. But in the end, I think we felt that this was a film about Chris’ life and not about his death…. We also wanted to be careful not to glorify the guy who did it.”
Anyone who has seen American Sniper knows that the film ends with an image of Kyle walking toward his truck, ready to take a veteran to the Rough Creek Lodge rifle range for the same kind of PTSD counseling he had used to help many other veterans after returning from his final tour overseas. As it stands, the ending of the film, intertitles and all, is extremely moving, and it certainly makes sense why Hall and company decided to leave any depiction of Kyle’s death out. That said, which ending would you have preferred to see? Leave your thoughts below.
Source: NY Daily News