AFI Fest just announced that Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper will be the festival’s secret screening set for tomorrow night. The Warner Bros-Village Roadshow biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle — the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history — stars Bradley Cooper will show at 9 PM PT, after the festival’s screening of Paramount’s Selma at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
The pic, adapted from Kyle’s autobiography by Jason Hall, opens in limited release December 25 followed by a mid-January wide expansion.
AFI wasn’t planning on unveiling its secret screening until Tuesday morning. But Clint Eastwood told Deadline’s Pete Hammond during Saturday night’s Governors Awards that he had finished the pic and that “it is ready to be seen now.” That turned out to be a pretty good hint: It appears that Warner Bros, having released a teaser trailer that has been well-received, is confident that this kind of showcase might be a good idea. That it comes on Veterans Day certainly doesn’t hurt.
Sniper follows the exploits of Kyle, whose pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield over four tours of duty in Iraq, earning him the nickname “Legend.” His reputation also grew behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He also faced a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world. Upon returning to his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.