Clint Eastwood‘s 2014 war movie American Sniper was both a critical and commercial success, sporting a 72 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and earning a staggering $547.4 million worldwide, per Box Office Mojo. The R-rated drama that starred Bradley Cooper as U.S. sniper Chris Kyle was considered a return to form for Eastwood, whose previous four films were met with mixed reaction. The film also capped off an impressive run for Cooper, who scored his third-straight and most recent Oscar nomination.
But award-winning Egyptian director Amr Salama was not a fan and in response to the movie, Salama is now developing an opposing film. Iraqi Sniper (working title), will focus on the “other side of the story of American Sniper, the story about the villain,” Salama told THR.
Cooper’s primary opponent in American Sniper was a mysterious marksman who fought for the Iraqi insurgents and was known only as Mustafa.
“He’s the hero in my film,” Salama said. “I hated [American Sniper]. That was my inspiration—I hated it so much that I wanted to work on a different version of that story.”
In real life, the Iraqi fighters did have a talented sniper known as Juba, who was said to have accounted for hundreds of kills in the mid 2000s. It is rumored that he had even been an Olympic athlete prior to the war.
“But I’m trying to make an anti-war film,” Salama continued. “Whereas American Sniper was pro-war.”
Iraqi Sniper is still in the early script writing stages, but already Salama has re-teamed with noted Egyptian producer and collaborator Mohamed Hefzy and the Oscar-nominated Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad along with his wife, Amira Diab.
“This story merits to be told even if American Sniper hadn’t come out,” Hefzy told THR. “He’s a very interesting character, a complex character. Amr did a lot of research and we’re trying to get his evolution right.” Hefzy believed the movie will have “international appeal.”
Though Salama is busy delivering his most recent film Sheikh Jackson to the Toronto Film Festival next month and has yet to complete the script of this new project, he already has begun casting.
“The same actor who played the sniper in American Sniper — Sammy Sheik (Tyrant, Homeland, Sand Castle) — is attached to my film.”