Jason Hall, the screenwriter for Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, revealed that a scene showing the violent death of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was cut from the film at the request of Kyle’s widow, Taya.
“Five days after Chris was murdered, Taya called and said, ‘This is going to be how my children remember their father, so I want you to get right,’” Hall said.
American Sniper was reportedly planned to conclude with Kyle’s murder at the hands of former Marine Eddie Ray Routh at a Stephenville, Texas gun range in 2013.
After Taya asked Eastwood and other executives to leave out Chris’s death, it was cut.
“I didn’t want this movie hanging over their heads for the rest of their lives as the film that showed their father getting shot,” Hall told the New York Daily News of protecting Kyle’s legacy for couple’s young children.
The film was already in production when Routh, a former Marine, allegedly shot and killed Kyle and friend Chad Littlefield in Feb. of 2013. Within days of Kyle’s death, the film’s creators had written five different endings for the biopic, all of which featured the murder of the men.
“We talked about how we would shoot it,” said Hall. “In the end, I think we felt this was a film on Chris’s life and not about his death. And we also wanted to be careful not to glorify the guy that did it.”
The film instead abruptly ends with Kyle and Littlefield arriving at Rough Creek Lodge rifle range, before cutting to a short epilogue.
Hall also spoke of the film’s positive impact for veterans, and his dedication to getting the story right.
“You hope that translates [to the screen],” he said. “You try and put your blood, sweat and tears on the page and try and live it and feel it every day. I couldn’t be prouder of the work that Bradley and Clint did.”
Routh is currently on trial for the murders of Kyle and Littlefield, and has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
American Sniper, which stars Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, has shattered box-office records since its release and grossed more than $300 million.