Clint Eastwood's American Sniper was a massive box office hit when it was released in 2015. However, at least one filmmaker has decided that a movie needs to be made in an attempt to tell the other side of the story. Egyptian director Amr Salama says he is in the early stages of a film project, which is currently going under the name Iraqi Sniper, which would focus on the character that Bradley Cooper's Chris Kyle is taking aim at in Eastwood's movie, an Iraqi sniper who goes by the name Mustafa in the film.
The character, which American Sniper called Mustafa, is based on an actual top Iraqi sniper who the US military called Juba. Not a lot is known about who the man actually was, but Amr Salama believes the character is complex and interesting enough to warrant a film, even if American Sniper had not been made.
Having said that, Amr Salama admits that seeing American Sniper was the catalyst for the idea. Salama says he hated the movie so much that it made him want to work on a different version of the same story. In addition to focusing on the character on the opposite side of the conflict, the tone of this film would also be different. Salama calls his movie an anti-war film, while he classifies American Sniper as pro-war, though director Clint Eastwood would disagree.
Interestingly, Iraqi Sniper may have one additional tie to American Sniper beyond its inspiration. Amr Salama tells The Hollywood Reporter that Sammy Sheik, the actor who played Mustafa in American Sniper, is currently attached to the project. It's certainly a casting decision that makes a lot of sense, as the actor is already familiar with the role. It will also make the film's opposing message resonate that much more with those who saw American Sniper.
While American Sniper was a pretty big deal when it was released, the film seems to have faded into the background since then. While it was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, it only went home with a single statue for sound editing. These days the thing that most people probably remember most clearly about the film is the scene where an obvious doll stands in for what is supposed to be an actual baby.
The director says that he hopes this new film is the next project of his to go into production, so he does appear to be serious about getting this alternate take in front of audiences. Clint Eastwood himself said that part of American Sniper's success was due to the fact that it put a human face on the conflict, so doing the same for those on the other side of the fight is certainly a worthy goal.