Although he announced it as his next feature film in May, Steven Spielberg has decided not to direct the upcoming American Sniper, Deadline reports. Both he and DreamWorks have parted ways with the project, although Warner Bros. remains on board.
The film will be based on the memoir of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle (written with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice), released last year and officially described as follows:
He is the deadliest American sniper ever, called “The Devil” by the enemies he hunted and “The Legend” by his Navy SEAL brothers. From 1999 to 2009, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle recorded the most career sniper kills in United States Military history. The Pentagon has officially confirmed more then 150 of Kyle’s kills (the previous American record was 109), but it has declined to verify the astonishing total number for this book. Iraqi insurgents feared Kyle so much they named him Al-Shaitan (“the devil”) and placed a bounty on his head. Kyle earned a legendary status among his fellow SEALS, Marines, and U.S. Army soldiers, who he protected with deadly accuracy from rooftops and stealth positions. Gripping and unforgettable, Kyle’s masterful account of his extraodinary battlefield experiences of all time.
A native Texan who learned to shoot on childhood hunting trips with his father, Kyle was a champion saddle-bronc rider prior to joining the Navy. After 9/11, he was thrust into the front lines of the War of Terror, and soon found his calling as a world-class sniper who performed best under fire. In Fallujah, where he recorded a personal-record 2,100-yard kill shot, Kyle braved heavy fire to rescue a group of Marines trapped on the street; in Ramadi, he stared down insurgents with his pistol in close combat. Kyle talks honestly about the pain of war-of twice being shot and experiencing the tragic deaths of two close friends.
The news comes in the wake of the announcement earlier this year that Spielberg’s formerly planned next project Robopocalypse, is on indefinite hold while the script is rewritten. It remains to be seen what he will now choose to follow up 2012’s Lincoln.