Bradley Cooper moving forward with Chris Kyle biopic

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Bradley Cooper wants to get his next project in front of camera as soon as possible, but not for the usual reasons of complicated schedules or financing that suddenly became available.

Cooper, Oscar nominated for “Silver Linings Playbook,” has been eager to make a film about the life of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, and in the wake of Kyle’s recent death, the actor wants to put the project on the fast track to do what he can for Kyle’s family.

In an interview Thursday on the Nation Public Radio series “Fresh Air,” Cooper talked about his renewed efforts to bring to the screen an adaptation of Kyle’s memoir “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.” Cooper said he was meeting with producers this week to discuss “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.”

“His story, first of all, needs to be told,” Bradley continued. “And it's also relevant on two fronts. One, gun control, and two, the needs to address this -- the many soldiers that are coming back with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Born in Texas in 1974, Chris Kyle served four tours of duty in Iraq, earned two Silver Stars and five Bronze Stars, and was reported to have racked up 160 confirmed kills as a sharpshooter before retiring from military service in 2009. Kyle’s exploits earned him the nickname “the Devil of Ramadi” from Iraqi insurgents. After returning to civilian life, Kyle worked with returning vets diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but in a tragic turn of events, he was shot and killed on February 2; the alleged shooter is a Iraq combat veteran struggling with severe PTSD who met up with Kyle at a rifle range.

While no director has been attached to this project yet, Cooper will co-produce as well as star as Kyle, and screenwriter Jason Dean Hall is said to be nearly finished with the first draft of his script.