Steven Spielberg has fallen off the Warner Bros. biopic “American Sniper” starring Bradley Cooper. DreamWorks is also no longer attached to the project. The project had been poised to be his follow-up to “Lincoln.”
Two DreamWorks spokespeople recently vehemently denied to Variety that Spielberg was falling off, with sources adding that the decision was not made final until this past weekend.
When Spielberg originally came on to the project, sources told Variety that an offer hadn’t even been made and that something may have happened in the deal-making process that led to Spielberg leaving the project.
There is a possibility some other project has drawn the helmer’s interest. DreamWorks is close to acquiring the rights to remake “The Grapes of Wrath,” which Spielberg fought to acquire. Spielberg may also be interested in reviving “Robopocalypse.”
Warner Bros. is still moving ahead with the project and will now look to find Spielberg’s replacement at the helm.
As with so many project he comes on to direct, Spielberg chose “American Sniper” and was never offered the job and, given how lucrative his contracts usually are, it is not shocking something may have occurred during the deal-making process.
The news comes at an interesting time, since Spielberg had turned his attentions to the casting of the film after giving his notes and helping out with the latest draft in “Jurassic Park 4.”
Jason Hall penned the script for “Sniper” about a Navy SEAL recounting his military career that included more than 150 confirmed kills. Film is based on the book “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” by Chris Kyle, Scott McEwan and Jim DeFelice.
Cooper’s production company, 22nd & Indiana Pictures and Andrew Lazar’s Mad Chance Productions optioned the rights to the book a year ago.
Spielberg is repped by CAA.