American Sniper has been garnering plenty of buzz online lately, but not for the reasons that director Clint Eastwood was hoping for. Despite having broken box office records and receiving a number of Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, the one thing fans can’t stop talking about is the use of an obvious fake baby doll in lieu of a real baby.
Viewers of the war film have taken to Twitter in droves to question the bizarre choice.
In one prominent scene the lead stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller are seen passing a crying baby between each other, but critics have noted that it is clearly not moving. A closer look at the footage shows Bradley moving the doll’s arm up and down with his thumb.
“The only nomination I’d give American Sniper is for best fake baby,” wrote one Twitter user, while another tweeted: “If you haven’t seen American Sniper yet, be sure to pay attention to their glorious newborn baby girl. It didn’t move an inch, so talented.”
While director Clint Eastwood is yet to comment on the speculation, the film’s screenwriter and executive producer Jason Hall offered another explanation.
In a since deleted tweet, Jason wrote: “Hate to ruin the fun but real baby #1 showed up with a fever. Real baby #2 was no show. (Clint voice) Gimme the doll, kid.”
Clint would also have been limited by strict laws relating to the use of babies in films in California, where part of American Sniper was shot. Children must be at least 15 days old and, up until the age of six months, can only be employed once for two consecutive hours – between 9.30 and 11.30am or 2.30 and 4.30pm. The child must also have a work permit and a doctor’s note to start a job, and there must be a studio teacher and a nurse on set.
Criticism has not hindered the film’s success; the film earned six Oscar nominations, including best picture, and it is on track to become the highest-grossing war movie ever after taking just under $100 million across the world in its opening weekend.
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