Five days after the shooting death of former Navy sniper Chris Kyle, Bradley Cooper is fast-tracking his film project "American Sniper," based on the autobiography of Kyle.
In a interview on the NPR program Fresh Air on Thursday, Cooper said that he was meeting with producers that very day to determine "how we can speed up the process and really try to make this movie."
Cooper bought the rights to the bestselling autobiography "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History" last spring. Screenwriter Jason Dean Hall, he said, was due to hand in his first draft of the screenplay this week. Andrew Lazar and Peter Morgan are producing with Cooper for his 22nd & Indiana production company, based at Warner Bros.
Cooper confirmed he would play Kyle, who was shot and killed on Feb. 2 at a shooting range in Erath County, Texas. The suspect is Eddie Ray Routh, a veteran suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. Kyle had reportedly taken Routh to the range to help with his PTSD.
A former Navy SEAL, Kyle is the most lethal sniper in American history, with 160 confirmed kills and 255 claimed kills in Iraq.
"I couldn't believe it," said Cooper of the news of Kyle's death. "…Thursday I was at Walter Reed Hospital meeting with veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder, among many other ailments, and then all of a sudden I heard this thing and I just couldn't believe it."
His meeting with Hall and the producers would focus, he said, on "what we can do for [Kyle's] family, but also on putting the movie on the fast track.
"His story, first of all, needs to be told," he said, "and it's also relevant on two fronts. One, gun control, and two, the needs to address this – the many soldiers that are coming back with post-traumatic stress disorder."
Cooper is scheduled to shoot "Silver Linings Playbook" director David O. Russell's untitled upcoming movie about the Abscam scandal in Washington. He is currently an Oscar nominee for "Silver Linings."