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UPDATE: Variety reports that Eastwood is indeed in talks to take on the project, though there's not yet confirmation that he'll do it.
Clint Eastwood seems to be getting into the habit of picking up projects that have been dropped by other filmmakers. Not only is the J. Edgar director now working on a big screen version of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys - a movie he signed on to direct after Jon Favreau had departed - he has apparently now taken Steven Spielberg's place adapting the Navy SEAL novel American Sniper.
This new rumor comes to us from Twitch, though it's hard to say what the contract situation is between Eastwood and the project. The site says that the filmmaker "has gotten the nod" to take over the film, but it isn't specified if that means that he is simply being considered by Warner Bros., if he is in active negotiations for the gig, or if he has already signed on the dotted line. It's also possible that this is just a rumor, so I wouldn't start placing your bets just yet.
The film will tell the true story of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who holds the U.S. military record for most sniper kills. Over the course of his decade-long career serving multiple tours of duty in Iraq, Kyle took out more than 150 targets, shattering the previous American record of 109. Bradley Cooper signed on to both produce and star in the film back in May of 2012, and despite the director shake-ups the project has endured it would appear that he is still attached. There's currently no information available regarding when Warner Bros. is hoping to start production on the movie or when they hope to have it in theaters.
Although it would appear that Spielberg no longer has anything to do with American Sniper, this is not the first time in recent years that the filmmaker and Eastwood have been linked together on a project. In 2006 Spielberg served as a producer on Eastwood's paired war dramas Flags of our Fathers and Letters From Iwo Jima, and then in 2010 Spielberg was an executive producer on Eastwood's Hereafter,
While it used to be exciting to hear about potential new directorial projects for Eastwood, that's sadly not really the case anymore. While we're still less than a decade removed from the Oscar-winning Million Dollar Baby, the filmmakers last couple movies - including J. Edgar and the aforementioned Hereafter - have not lived up to the high standard that we have for him as a filmmaker. Perhaps he just needs the right project to get him back on course.
Jersey Boys, which will be Eastwood's next directorial effort, is currently in the casting phase and has already lined up Vincent Piazza, John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda and Christopher Walken to star. Production on the film is scheduled to start before the end of the year, and while an official release date has not yet been announced, one can assume that we will get to see the finished product some time in 2014.