Filmmakers wanted to close the Oscar-nominated movie on the tragic scene, but Taya Kyle got in touch five days after he was killed and asked them to reconsider because of her young children.
“Taya called and said, ‘This is going to be how my children remember their father, so I want you to get it right’,” scriptwriter Jason Hall told the New York Daily News.
“In the end, I think we felt that this was a film about Chris’s life and not about his death. We also wanted to be careful not to glorify the guy who did it.”
Hall added that he didn’t want American Sniper to be “the thing that was hanging over [the children’s] heads for the very rest of their lives as the film that showed their father getting shot”.
Five different endings were brainstormed by director Clint Eastwood and his team before they settled upon the final version, which shows Kyle arriving at the firing range with war veteran and murder suspect Eddie Ray Routh.
Oscars 2015 nominations
Oscars 2015 nominations
1/28 Birdman - 10 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu)
2/28 The Grand Budapest Hotel - 10 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Director (Wes Anderson), Best Picture, Film Editing, Production Design, for Makeup and Hairstyling, Costume Design, Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Original Score
3/28 The Imitation Game - 8 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Supporting Actor ( Keira Knightley) Best Director (Morten Tyldum), Film Editing, Production Design, Adapted Screenplay, Original Score
4/28 American Sniper - 6 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Bradley Cooper), Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay
5/28 Boyhood - 6 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Actress in Supporting role (Patricia Arquette) Film Editing, Best Director (Richard Linklater), Original Screenplay
6/28 Whiplash - 5 nominations
Academy Award nominated for Best Picture, Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Adapted Screenplay
7/28 The Theory of Everything - 5 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Actress (Felicity Jones), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score
Working Title Films
8/28 Foxcatcher - 5 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Director (Bennett Miller), Best Actor (Steve Carrell), Original Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling
9/28 Selma - 2 nominations
Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Best Original Song
10/28 Mr Turner
Oscar nominated for Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography, Original Score
Reese Witherspoon is Oscar-nominated for best actress in a leading role and Laura Dern is nominated for best supporting actress
12/28 Two Days, One Night
Marion Cotillard has been nominated in the best actress category
Oscar nominated for Original Screenplay
14/28 Gone Girl
Rosamund Pike is Oscar nominated for best actress in a leading role
Twentieth Century Fox
Nominated for Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Production Design, Sound Mixing, Original Score
16/28 Still Alice
Best actress in a leading role nomination for Julianne Moore
17/28 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
Oscar nominated for Sound Editing
18/28 Into The Woods
Oscar nominated for Production Design, Costume Design, Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep)
19/28 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Robert Redford and Chris Evans film is nominated for Special Effects
20/28 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Nominated for an Oscar in the Visual Effects category
20th Century Fox
21/28 The Lego Movie
Oscar nominated for best song 'Everything Is Awesome' but snubbed in best animation category
22/28 X-Men, Days of the Future Past
Oscar nominated in the Visual Effects category
Alan Markfield / 2013 Marvel & Subs / 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
23/28 Begin Again
Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo in Begin Again which is Oscar nominated for best original song
24/28 Guardians Of The Galaxy
Nominated for Visual Effects, for Makeup and Hairstyling
Oscar nominated for Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography
26/28 How To Train Your Dragon 2
Oscar nominated for Animated Feature Film
Oscar nominated for Costume Design
© Disney Enterprises, Inc.
28/28 Inherent Vice
Oscar nominated for Adapted Screenplay
Reactions to American Sniper have proved mixed, with rave reviews sitting alongside fierce public debate. Celebrities including Seth Rogen and Michael Moore have voiced their disapproval of the film while others such as Kid Rock and Sarah Palin have defended it.
But Hall has insisted that “any time a movie gets a reaction, it’s a good reaction”, particularly when “soldiers see the movie and they come home and they start talking”. “You try and put your blood, sweat and tears on the page and try and live it and feel it every day,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the work that Bradley and Clint did.”
Eddie Ray Routh, 27, is currently on trial in the US charged with the murder of the deadliest sniper in US military history in February 2013.