American Sniper | 2014
A bulked-up Bradley Cooper is almost unrecognisable as Chris Kyle, heroic saver of countless lives or ruthless fantasist? Clint Eastwood’s box office success jettisons any of the potentially interesting contradictions in this ambiguous character in favour of an oddly old-fashioned black-and-white pitting of noble patriots against devious ‘savages’.
The ‘Iraq’ war sequences were filmed in Morocco. The country’s capital, Rabat on the Atlantic coast, and its neighbour city of Sale across the Bou Regreg River, doubled for war-torn ‘Fallujah’ – as they previously stood in for ‘Somalia’ in Ridley Scott’s 2001 Black Hawk Down.
The rest of the film, though, was made in California. Much of the ‘Ramadi’ tour of duty was filmed at the 100-acre Blue Cloud Movie Ranch, 20000 Blue Cloud Road, Santa Clarita, off I-5 north of Los Angeles, where a section of urban ‘Iraq’ was recreated to match up with the Moroccan shoot.
‘Tour Four’, the climactic battle at ‘Sadr City’ was filmed in the desert town of El Centro, about 100 miles east of San Diego in the arid Imperial Valley. An old milk processing plant on the north side of Broadway Street alongside the rail line, west of North 3rd Street, was turned into the abandoned ‘date factory’, on the roof of which Chris and his team are jeopardized not only by Iraqi insurgents, but a blinding sandstorm, generated via a blend of practical and digital effects.
The ‘military air base’ is San Bernardino International Airport, 294 South Leland Norton Way, San Bernardino.
Two separate locations were used for the SEAL training sequences. The sniper range where Chris proves his targeting skills is the Paramount Ranch, 2903 Cornell Road, Agoura Hills, in the Santa Monica Mountains west of Los Angeles.
The intense BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) training, supposedly conducted at the Coronado-Naval Amphibious Base, 2000 Trident Way in San Diego, was recreated in the (probably) less taxing environment of Leo Carillo State Beach, 35000 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.
It’s off to another Southern California beach to find the bar in which Kyle first meets wife-to-be Taya while macho men use each other’s backs as dartboards, which is O'Malley’s On Main, 140 Main Street, Seal Beach, southeast of Long Beach.
Kyle takes Taya to a shooting booth on Seal Beach Pier, Ocean Avenue at Main Street, where he puts his lethal skills to more benign use by winning a teddy bear.
The yacht, aboard which Chris and Taya get married is moored in Marina Del Rey, back toward Venice.
Both of the Kyle residences are around Los Angeles, and it’s in Venice, off Venice Boulevard, that a house was used to stand in for the couple’s ‘San Diego’ residence, Taya's home base during Chris's deployments abroad.
The home in ‘Midlothian, Texas’, to which Kyle returns after his final tour of duty, is 8843 Newcastle Avenue off Rayen Street , in Northridge, up in the San Fernando Valley.