The Best Kind of Controversy is the ‘American Sniper’ Fake Baby Controversy


American Sniper fake baby
Bradley Cooper holding a fake baby in American Sniper
Photo: Warner Bros.

American Sniper grossed $107.3 million in its first four days of wide release this past weekend and on top of breaking January box office records and in only a few days becoming the highest grossing of all the Best Picture nominees, it has also become the latest film to have its nits picked. Controversy is swirling as to whether or not the film’s subject, Chris Kyle, is actually a hero? Is the film to “rah rah”? Is the “real” Chris Kyle at all similar to the character portrayed by Bradley Cooper? And on and on…

However, one topic concerning the film I find somewhat hilarious and I’m glad people are bringing it up is the fake baby used in the feature. I’m glad because during my screening of the film when the scene below played I leaned over to the person next to me and said, “I think that’s a fake baby.” I’m happy to see I’m not alone.

The Hollywood Reporter brings the fake baby issue to light noting a couple of since deleted tweets, the first from Grantland writer Marc Harris who wrote, “That plastic baby in American Sniper is going to be rationalized by Eastwood auteur cultists until the end of days.”

The film’s screenwriter, Jason Hall, replied in a tweet that has also been deleted saying, “[H]ate to ruin the fun but real baby #1 showed up with a fever. Real baby #2 was no show. (Clint voice) Gimme the doll, kid.”

I love that quote, it sort of goes to what has been so glaringly obvious about so many of Eastwood’s recent films, which is a complete lack of caring when it comes to quality. Get the shot and move along. Over at FilmDrunk they dug up an interview with Armie Hammer from Moviefone, discussing his work with Eastwood on J. Edgar:

I do find it fascinating that you went from a David Fincher movie to a Clint Eastwood movie, considering their directorial styles.
As polar opposite as you can get. Absolutely.

Is there any exaggeration there? Is Eastwood really like, “cut, print, let’s move on”?
There would be takes that we did where I was under the impression we were shooting a rehearsal. Or that the cameras weren’t even on … and that’s what we used.

Really? There were times that you really didn’t think the cameras were on?
Oh, yeah, definitely. At one point he was like, “OK, cut, print.” And I was like, “Whoa, whoa, Clint, I had my [script pages] in my hands, I thought we were just rehearsing that.”

Now I want to go back and look for the scene with the script, but that would mean watching J. Edgar again and I’m not going to do that.

Give the scene featuring said fake baby a watch below, though I have to assume Warner Bros. is going to have this yanked at any moment.

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Weekend: May. 30, 2019, Jun. 2, 2019

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