Making a movie based on real events is tricky territory to tread, given the possibility of hurting feelings, misremembering details or getting caught in the center of two versions of an event. It's like asking someone to sit for a portrait, and knowing that in the end, they may look at the finished product blankly, insisting that it looks nothing like them.
So imagine the challenge Clint Eastwood faced when he began work on "American Sniper," a film adapted from the memoir of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, hailed as the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle was killed by a fellow veteran in 2013, and his wife, Taya, was involved in the film's production.
When shooting one of the film's most intense scenes, then, it was crucial to get it right. In the scene, Kyle (played by Bradley Cooper) is on an overseas tour in Afghanistan. He's chatting away with his pregnant wife, Taya (played by Sienna Miller), who has just informed him that they're having a much hoped-for son. Suddenly, enemy fire breaks out. A horrified Taya listens on the other end in the U.S., helpless. It's a tense moment, and one that most characterizes one of the film's central themes, the push-pull of being in danger and serving your country abroad while there are still those at home who need you. Which wins out in the end?
Cooper told MTV News that playing Kyle was "a privilege."
"You just want to get it right," he said. "You know that whatever you do pales in comparison to what they, Taya and Chris, went through."
Miller called shooting that scene in particular "the hardest thing that I've ever had to do in a film."
Find out more about shooting "American Sniper" in the video above.
"American Sniper" is in theaters now.