NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Bradley Cooper has been juggling a grueling eight-show-a-week performance schedule in the hit Broadway play The Elephant Man with promotional duties for his new Navy Seal movie American Sniper.
"Both Chris Kyle and Joseph Merrick were real people, who I admire greatly, and, so, I just felt a tremendous responsibility to both of them. And, I just see it as a huge opportunity and a privilege. So, I just did everything I could to do right by them," Cooper said at a press conference in New York Tuesday. "Movies, for me, have always been healing. When I was a kid growing up, The Elephant Man was a movie that affected me in such a massive way it made me want to be an actor. It always made me feel like I wasn't so alone. That's why I do what I do. I love storytelling so much."
Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on Kyle's autobiography, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, the film follows the decorated marksman through four tours in the Iraq War, trips home to see his wife and kids, his ultimate honorable discharge and tragic 2013 death at a Texas gun range, allegedly at the hands of a fellow veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Kyle was 38 when he died.
"We had an opportunity to tell this man's story, who was a very charismatic, dynamic human being, so it's going to be a story that is cinematically fruitful," Cooper said. "There are a lot of things that make it something you want to watch, but the takeaway will be for those who can relate to him, that maybe it will be healing to relate to a veteran who has gone through similar things that Chris has gone through and maybe not feel so alone. People who don't know anything about what vets go through, what [Kyle's wife] Taya has gone through, maybe can have some sort of empathy or sympathy when they see a vet pass them at an airport, maybe think twice."
American Sniper is set for release Dec. 25.