Movie endings are changed all the time. But when it's a true story being told, there's not a lot of room for alterations. Like, you can't have Chris Kyle live happily ever after at the end of American Sniper.
American Sniper concludes with Kyle (Bradley Cooper) heading out to the shooting range where he'll be murdered. Then there's a cut to black, and the information about the murder comes to us in an end card just before the credits begin. We don't see Kyle being killed, and that's a change from what had been in a few drafts by screenwriter Jason Hall.
"We talked about putting it in," Hall told the Daily News at the Writers Guild Awards over the weekend. "I certainly wrote it, and we went around and around. We wrote it five different ways, talked about how we would shoot it. But in the end, I think we felt this was a film about Chris's life and not about his death."
While not specifically asked by Kyle's widow, Taya, to leave out that scene, Hall says that after talking to her and considering what it would do for their children's memory of their father, it made sense not to show the murder. "Early on I made a promise to Taya," he said on the red carpet, recalling how she had called him up soon after Kyle's death and explained what this movie will mean for the kids.
"I didn’t want it to be the thing that was hanging over their heads for the very rest of their lives as the film that showed their father getting shot," he told the reporter of his respectful intentions. Being a dad himself also helped influence his choice.
Watch the WGA Awards red-carpet interview with Hall below.