American Sniper’ had a record-shattering weekend at the box office, grossing an astounding $105 million from Friday to Monday. It’s already the second biggest earner of Clint Eastwood’s entire career after ‘Gran Torino,’ and with six Academy Award nominations (and great word-of-mouth) behind it, it’s posed to become his biggest hit ever.

Critics were more divided on the film than audiences, and the debates over the film’s politics, its depiction of the War in Iraq, and its protagonist’s post-war life are just starting to heat up. But ‘American Sniper’’s fans and detractors can all agree on one thing: The baby in this movie is one of the fakest in the history of big Hollywood movies. Here now is a video of that “baby” in all its not-real glory:

Did you catch Bradley Cooper making the baby’s hand move?


No wonder the guy got an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Can you imagine trying to act legitimately upset while holding that thing?

So what gives? Does Clint Eastwood have a thing against real babies? According to ‘Sniper’ screenwriter Jason Hall in a tweet that he later deleted (but is still posted at THR), the real baby they’d hired for the job “showed up with a fever” and the backup “was a no show.” Left with no other choice (or too impatient to wait for another choice), the notoriously speedy Eastwood decided to shoot the scene with a very obvious doll.

Why Eastwood didn’t shoot around the doll, so it wasn’t so clear in so many shots, is another very valid question that I don’t have an answer for. But perhaps the obvious doll was a creative choice. ‘American Sniper’ is a movie about the toll war takes on the psyche of a soldier. Overseas, Chris Kyle is an effective, efficient warrior. But when he returns home, he can’t shake what he’s done, and he finds it almost impossible to acclimate to American society. So perhaps the super-fake baby is a symbol of what Kyle sees when he holds his daughter. He’s so shell-shocked by war that nothing seems real anymore, including his flesh-and-blood child.

Or Eastwood was in a rush, lost his real babies, and didn’t care enough about that detail to wait for a living, breathing replacement and all they had instead was something a PA had found at a local toy store. But it’s definitely one or the other.

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