Why Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper Uses A Fake Baby (& Why It Looks So Terrible)

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American Sniper has become infamous for its painfully obvious prop baby, and the movie’s screenwriter has revealed why a doll was used.

Despite being one of the most popular biopics of the decade, American Sniper’s achievements have been overshadowed in the years since its release by the false baby scene. Clint Eastwood’s 2014 film follows real-life Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), who set a record for confirmed kills while serving in Iraq. Critics praised Cooper’s portrayal of Kyle’s issues with the moral quandary he experienced in the conflict and his attempt to settle down with his family in their good reviews of American Sniper. As a result, according to Box Office Mojo, the movie earned an astonishing $547 million globally.

The most talked-about part of the movie, despite how effectively it draws viewers into the emotionally compelling true-life account of the American Sniper, is a dramatic sequence starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller. Unfortunately, the impressive performances are not the topic of conversation. The sobbing baby in the scene that Chris Kyle and Taya Kyle (Miller) are trying to console is painfully clear to be a fake. The success of American Sniper was overshadowed by the prop baby, which gave rise to many jokes. The doll, however, was plan C, according to American Sniper screenwriter Jason Hall, who also disclosed the history of the false infant.

American Sniper Tried To Use Real Babies – But They Didn’t Work Out

Following the onslaught of jokes ridiculing the fake baby in American Sniper, screenwriter Jason Hall set the matter straight by explaining that a real baby was hired only for it to fall sick during production. However, there was still a plan B, as the production even had a backup baby (via Vulture). The writer commented, “Hate to ruin the fun but real baby number one showed up with a fever. Real baby number two was a no show.” Then, Hall claims director Clint Eastwood growled, “Gimme the doll, kid.” That led to the toy-like doll being used in a movie that had a budget of $58 million.

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Working with children and babies comes with a number of production issues, such as limited working hours and lack of experience. That’s why movie and TV productions often cast twins for child characters, as that ultimately doubles the time the director has for the characters’ scenes. One notable example is Dylan and Cole Sprouse, who played Julian in Big Daddy, Ben Gellar in Friends, and a number of other notable ’90s child characters. When it comes to baby characters, the only other option is to use dolls, and as proved in American Sniper, that strategy has inconsistent results.

American Sniper’s Prop Baby Looks Really Bad (& Hurts The Movie)

Unfortunately, the American Sniper prop infant seriously detracts from the 2014 film. Despite having a troubled and complex real-life character at its center, the movie is one of Clint Eastwood’s greatest, aside from the embarrassing sequence. However, the pretend baby is so distracting that it takes viewers out of the otherwise gripping experience. The phony doll is still painfully obvious from the side profile of the prop infant even if it wasn’t presented face-on.

The actor holds the doll awkwardly and clumsily, which makes the prop infant worse. This makes the sequence feel incredibly awkward and out of place with the overall caliber of the 2014 film. According to Fandango critic Dave Karger (via The Telegraph), the prop baby is the main reason why the movie won’t win Best Picture. Although American Sniper was a box office success, audiences are more likely to recall the prop infant than the movie’s plot, and the sequence may have even hurt the film’s prospects of winning an Oscar.

 

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