Identify three actors from your film and classify each according to the types of actors listed in your text.
American Sniper is a biographical film based on the life of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. Bradley Cooper (Chris Kyle), Sienna Miller (Taya Kyle), and Max Charles (Colton Kyle) each impersonate real people.
Explain your reasons for classifying the actors as you do. Use specific references to the film and pay special attention to how these decisions impacted characterization. Also, consider the impact of any realistic or stylized portrayals within the film.
An impersonator is used when a “filmmaker needs a portrayal of a recognizable historical figure, for instance, but doesn’t want to distract the audience by casting a recognizable actor in the role” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014, section 5.5). Bradley Cooper impersonated Chris Kyle. Cooper had to gain weight and train with a dialect coach and snipers to mirror Kyle’s personality and mannerisms. Chris Kyle was from Texas so Cooper dedicated four months to watching interviews of Chris Kyle to nail his Texan accent. Also, Kyle wanted to become a cowboy in which Cooper portray a cowboy in the film. Sienna Miller impersonated Taya Kyle, Kyle’s wife. Miller spoken to Taya on several occasions to understand who she was and discuss her life with Chris Kyle. After Chris Kyle’s second tour in Iraq, Taya wanted Chris to leave the Navy and become a full time husband and father. Sienna Miller portrayed Taya heartbreaking pleas in the film. Max Charles impersonated Colton Kyle, Kyle’s son. There was a scene in the film in which Chris Kyle enjoyed playing with his son.
Focus on one of the actors you’ve discussed. Based on other films the actor has been in, would this actor always be placed in the same category? If so, what does this say about the category or actor? If not, what can you infer about the flexibility of these categories? Provide evidence (references from other films, including film clips and stills) to support your argument.
Bradley Cooper has played in various roles in films, television, and theatre throughout his acting career. These types of actors are called wild card which is “an actor who is difficult to classify as one certain type, often because he or she can play a wide variety of characters equally well without becoming typecast” (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014). In Wedding Crashers (2005), Cooper played Zachery “Sack” Lodge who was Claire Cleary (Rachael McAdams) violent boyfriend who was obsessed with winning at any cost. Cooper played Ben Gunders in He’s Just Not that Into You (2009) who was a married man but began a flirtatious relationship with Anna Marks (Scarlett Johansson). In 2011, Cooper starred in Limitless as a struggling author who took a “smart drug” NZT-48 which allowed him to access 100% of his brain.
Clip: Wedding Crashers-Otter Scene
Clip: He’s Just Not That Into You- Pool Scene
Clip: Limitless– Pill Scene
American Sniper-Bar Scene (2015). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IjT6Ih3Kqs
Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
He’s Just Not that into You-Pool Scene (2010). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqtBESBdpX4
Limitless-Pill Scene (2011). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP-ZwmCPBAs
Wedding Crashers-Otter Scene (2011). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li9SB4i9wjk