Bradley Cooper was as shocked to hear the news of ex Navy SEAL Chris Kyle being shot to death at a shooting range in Texas last week as the rest of the nation, in part because he had already acquired the rights to tell Kyle's story on the big screen.
The project began a year ago, and a first draft of the script had already been completed. Cooper had just begun the process of speaking with veterans who suffer from PTSD as research for the film.
"I was at Walter Reed hospital meeting with veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder, among many other ailments; and then all of a sudden I hear this thing and I just can’t believe it. This man has two children, and he is an advocate for putting guns back in veterans’ hands, as a way of therapy," he said.
Indeed, Kyle--who was unofficially the most lethal sniper in American military history--had recently devoted his time to helping veterans rehabilitate themselves after being diagnosed with PTSD and other military-induced issues. His book, "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History", was just published last January.
Though the timing of a movie about Kyle's life might need to handled with extraordinary care, Cooper says a main priority is figuring out a way to get it done--and done well--quickly.
“I’m going to meet with the writers and producers today to talk about, number one what we can do for his family, and number two, how we can speed up the process and really try to make this movie,” he said. “His story first of all really needs to be told, and it’s also relevant on two fronts: gun control and the need to address the many soldiers who are coming back with PTSD. Medicine has evolved to such a state — soldiers are coming back and they’re going to assimilate into the culture and if we don’t address the mental state along with the physical state it’s going to be a problem.”