NEW YORK, Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Bradley Cooper says his fact-based film American Sniper is meant to be a character study of a soldier and what he endures mentally and physically, rather than a commentary on the Iraq War.
Clint Eastwood directed the big-screen version of the late Navy Seal Chris Kyle's autobiography. The film earned six Oscar nominations last week, including nods for Best Picture and Best Actor.
Asked at a recent New York press conference if he thinks telling this story will help international moviegoers understand America's involvement in the Iraq War, Cooper was quick to emphasize: "It's not a movie about the Iraq War.
"It's a movie about what someone like Chris has to go through -- a soldier -- and the dilemma and the horror of it and the battle internally and with the family," he explained. "That is all this movie is about. That's all we ever talked about making it about. It's not a political movie at all. It's a movie about a man, a character study and we had the privilege of telling this man's story. ... The hope is that you can somehow have your eyes opened to the struggle of a soldier, as opposed to the specificity of the war."
Cooper, who also served as a producer on American Sniper, seemed surprised when a reporter inquired why he wanted Eastwood to helm the picture.
"That's almost a hilarious question. ... Why would I want to work with Clint Eastwood? He's made maybe the best American film -- Unforgiven. He is one of the greatest directors of our time, of this century. And, also, the character struggle of a man, I think, that he tackles in Unforgiven -- with William Munny -- and Letters from Iwo Jima, he is able to do in a way other directors just aren't, so he was the perfect director for this movie, which is a character study framed as a western. So, he is perfect. Chris Kyle actually said if there was anyone he would choose to direct the movie, it would be Clint Eastwood and then he had his wish."
American Sniper has earned more than $90.2 million at the North American box office during its first weekend in wide release.