When it comes to American Sniper, I’ve found over the last few days that it’s better to tread water when criticizing. It’s a shame, but I’ve been hit by quite a few slurs from folks that are taking the film to heart. But despite all of that, my opinion aligns with Matt in that the film is fine, but doesn’t delve enough into the “human” aspect of the military. And Steven Spielberg, who was attached to the project before Clint Eastwood, thought the same way. One of his many notes would’ve fixed my problem with it.
Talking with THR, screenwriter Jason Dean Hall tells one of the suggestions Spielberg had:
For a few months … it looked as if Steven Spielberg would be directing American Sniper. Spielberg had read Kyle’s book and Hall’s screenplay and was willing to commit to it as his next movie, with DreamWorks co-producing. But he had some ideas of his own. For one thing, he wanted to focus more on the “enemy sniper” in the script — the insurgent sharpshooter who was trying to track down and kill Kyle. “He was a mirror of Chris on the other side,” Hall explains of Spielberg’s vision. “It was a psychological duel as much as a physical duel. It was buried in my script, but Steven helped bring it out.”
But it seems Spielberg left the project due to budget concerns:
As Spielberg added more and more ideas to the story, the page count continued to grow, bloating to 160. Warner Bros.’ budget for the film, though, remained a slender $60 million. Ultimately, Spielberg felt he couldn’t bring his vision of the story to the screen for that amount of money and dropped out of the project. Within a week, Warner Bros. president Greg Silverman, one of the three executives who run the studio, asked domestic distribution chief Dan Fellman to call Clint Eastwood.
This could’ve made for a much better film. It would’ve fleshed out the “enemy” by making them more than “savages,” and Kyle wouldn’t have come across as a Terminator more than a broken soldier. What do you think?[THR, via /Film]