Chris Kyle, the famed American Navy SEAL, who was decorated with over ten awards throughout his military career, is the subject of a biopic American Sniper directed by Academy Award winning director Clint Eastwood and starring Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper. Sienna Miller and Max Charles will play Kyle’s wife Taya and son Colton respectively. The trailer was released today.

Kyle was considered, and still is, the undisputed greatest sniper in American military history, and served during the Second Battle of Fallujah. He had up to 255 kills throughout his service. Insurgents placed an $80,000 bounty on his head, and referred to him as “The Devil of Ramadi.” During the war he was shot twice and survived six separate IED attacks.

After receiving an honorable discharge in 2009, became President of Craft International, a tactical training company for the US military and law enforcement communities. He also devoted a great deal of time helping fellow Iraq war veterans. Working with FITCO Cares Foundation, Kyle founded the Heroes Project which provided free in-home fitness equipment, individualized programs, personal training, and life-coaching to in-need veterans with disabilities, Gold Star families, or those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Kyle was very hands-on in the program, often involving himself personally with clients, helping them out as much as possible.

He also released a memoir called American Sniper, published by HarperCollins, on which Eastwood’s film is largely based.

Chris Kyle and Jesse Ventura

While Kyle’s impressive record was enough to earn him a reputation in popular culture, he also received much attention during an appearance on the nationally syndicated radio program The Opie and Anthony Show where Kyle was asked by hosts Gregg ‘Opie’ Hughes, Anthony Cumia, and comedian Jim Norton about an incident that had been making the rounds (and eventually appeared as a detailed story in early editions of Kyle’s memoir) that involved Kyle punching out former Navy SEAL, Minnesota governor and conspiracy theorist Jesse Ventura.

The alleged incident, detailed in the video below, happened at a bar following the funeral of Medal of Honor recipient Michael Monsoor. Ventura claimed to have said particularly derogatory things, and Kyle responded with a fist. Ventura sued Kyle for libel, and after Kyle’s death, sued his estate for over $1 million. Ventura won the lawsuit which involved the payout, and stipulated all future editions of Kyle’s memoir would have the Ventura story pulled from the book. To that end, Eastwood’s film cannot depict the scene either.

Death of Chris Kyle

On Saturday, February 2, 2013, Kyle and friend, Chad Littlefield, were shot and killed by a fellow veteran and marine. The incident took place at the Rough Creek Ranch-Lodge-Resort shooting range in Erath County, Tex. Kyle and Littlefield knew the 25 year old shooter, and were helping him readjust to life following his return to the States and his PTSD diagnosis.

Kyle received a memorial service at Cowboy’s stadium; a funeral procession ran for 200 miles from Midlothian, Tex., to Austin where he was interred at Texas State Cemetery.

American Sniper will receive a limited release on December 25, 2014, before opening wide on January 16, 2015.

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