Brow Beat

What’s Up With the Stupid Plastic Baby in American Sniper? The Screenwriter Explains.

Though America can’t seem to make up its mind about what to think of American Sniper’s loose handling of the facts and arguably “jingoistic” message, there’s one thing everyone seems to agree on: The surprise Oscar contender has one embarrassingly fake-looking baby. As the film broke box office records in its nation-wide expansion in theaters over the weekend, many moviegoers could not believe just how obvious it was that the baby—which Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller must pretend is their own flesh-and-blood child—was really just a plastic doll. At this point, it seems like only a matter of time before the baby becomes its own full-blown meme.

As the Hollywood Reporter has noted, film journalist Mark Harris started mocking the doll a few weeks ago, and in a since-deleted tweet, the screenwriter, Jason Hall, replied succinctly: “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.”

This may seem rather mortifying to Eastwood and co., but maybe the veteran director did Cooper a favor: When the Best Actor nominee proves his ability to act even when handed a hunk of plastic this fake, Cooper might as well be saying, “Gimme the Oscar, academy.”