Steven Spielberg's new movie American Sniper - based on the autobiography of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle - will star Bradley Cooper in the lead role. Kyle, an expert marksman who wrote American Sniper: The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In U.S. Military History, was recently gunned down by a discharged vet at a Texas shooting range. Cooper optioned the book himself and Spielberg clearly sees it as a strong enough project for which to get behind the camera.

The movie chronicles Kyle's journey from rodeo cowboy to SEAL chief with the highest number of sniper kills in U.S. military history. The book spent 18 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and 13 weeks at No.1. Cooper - whose production company 22nd & Indiana Pictures sealed the rights a year ago - appears to be onto a good thing. Obviously, with Spielberg at the helm the film immediately takes on added significance, though Cooper himself has risen to become one of the most sought after actors in Hollywood following his career best Oscar nominated role in Silver Linings Playbook. However, the most significant thing that American Sniper has in its favour in terms of awards potential is that it's very American and very military based. The Academy is a sucker for heavily patriotic stories - see Argo and The Hurt Locker - and should the team behind the movie get the remainder of the cast right, it could be a big player indeed.

The book has been adapted by Jason Hall (Paranoia) who will also serve as executive producer with Spielberg and Cooper.

Steven SpielbergBradley Cooper
Steven Spielberg [L] and Bradley Cooper [R] Will Team Up For 'American Sniper'