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29 Things Most People Don't Know About 'American Sniper'

Updated September 23, 2021 6.6m views29 items

Bradley Cooper starred as the late Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in US military history in American Sniper. In addition to picking up six Oscar nominations, the film was a massive and surprise box office hit. Directed by the legendary Clint Eastwood, American Sniper follows the life of Kyle from when he first enlists in the Navy SEAL, through his four tours of duty, and details the emotional toll it takes on him and his family.

Through press notes and interviews, we've put together 29 interesting facts and trivia tidbits about one of the first breakout movies of 2014. Find out what kind of preparation Cooper underwent to play Kyle, which other actors were considered for the role of his wife, the two award-winning directors who initially expressed interest in the project, and other behind-the-scenes Easter eggs from the film. From box office records to filming details, and a quick side note about Jesse Ventura's lawsuit against Kyle's family, this list will take you deep into a film that was an award-winner and classic war movie.

American Sniper, directed by Clint Eastwood, co-starred Sienna Miller, Luke Grimes, Jake McDorman, Kevin Lacz, and Keir O'Donnell.

  • Bradley Cooper Gained 40 Pounds To Prep For The Role

    Eating 6,000 calories per day, Cooper gained 40 pounds to play 230-pound Chris Kyle. “I had to get to the point where I believed I was him,” Cooper told Men's Health. “At 185 pounds, it would’ve been a joke. His size was such a part of who he was.” He added, "Chris wasn’t ripped. He wasn’t sinewy. He was just a bear.”

    Cooper later had to quickly lose all the weight for his lead role of disfigured John Merrick in the Broadway revival of "The Elephant Man."

  • Cooper Had A Different Actor In Mind For The Lead Role

    Photo: Tinseltown / Shutterstock.com

    Cooper bought the rights to the film intending to only serve as a producer, with Chris Pratt starring as US Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle. “Initially I thought, ‘There’s no way I could play Chris,’” Cooper said. “I thought Chris Pratt should do it.”

    The two would go on to co-star in Guardians of the Galaxy.

  • David O. Russell And Steven Spielberg Considered Directing

    Photo: Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock.com

    Russell considered directing the film but a deal with Warner Bros. didn't work out. Spielberg then expressed interest, but eventually moved on. Eastwood came on board shortly after Kyle passed away.

    Eastwood said of the film, “I think it’s nice for veterans, because it shows what they go through, and that life—and the wives and families of veterans. It has a great indication of the stresses they are under."

  • Three Other Actors Were Considered To Play Wife Taya Kyle

    Actors Jaimie Alexander, Kate Mara, and Evangeline Lilly were considered to play Taya Kyle before Sienna Miller was cast. Mara chose to star in The Fantastic Four reboot while Lilly joined the cast of Ant-Man.

    Of co-starring with Sienna Miller as Taya, Cooper said, “Right up at the top. She’s a dexterous actress, ridiculously talented, beautiful, full of energy, and her work ethic is unparalleled.”