Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood set their sights on Acton, California, as a location for the movie “American Sniper.”
Cooper stars in the film as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, a record-setting sniper who served four tours in Iraq, only to be shot and killed in 2013 at a gun range in Texas. Eastwood is directing the film, which features combat scenes lensed at Blue Cloud Ranch in Santa Clarita.
Cooper and co-star Sienna Miller have been spotted on set at several Los Angeles locations over the last few weeks.
Eastwood arrived about 3:30 p.m. Monday at a shopping center on Santiago Road in Acton, where an empty unit had been dressed as a Navy recruitment center. Cooper, star of “The Hangover” and “American Hustle,” showed up shortly after the director, wearing a plaid shirt and jeans. The actor was looking husky, having bulked up considerably for the role, but didn’t have the bushy beard he sported for much of the movie’s production. He spent most of Monday’s shoot inside the building.
The production involved a small film crew and a large crane to light the exterior of the building, located between the Dancin’ in Acton dance studio and the Rustic Cafe & Bakery. Several 1970s or ’80s era picture cars were parked outside the faux recruitment center, including a weathered brown pickup truck and a Dodge Magnum with a license plate reading “MGNUMPI.”
The shoot drew a small crowd of onlookers from neighboring businesses, which remained open for the day. They gathered to try to get a look at Cooper, but were disappointed when much of the filming revolved around several denim and cowboy boot-clad extras walking in and out of the recruitment office.
Eastwood is no stranger to the Antelope Valley. He shot a scene for his 2002 thriller, “Blood Work,” and footage for 2008’s “Changeling” in the area. Cooper recently spent time in Tehachapi, filming scenes for “The Hangover Part III.”
Based on Kyle’s memoir, “American Sniper” is among the modestly budgeted productions taking advantage of California’s film tax credit, according to the Los Angeles Times. Eastwood also shot his last project, the upcoming Broadway musical adaptation “Jersey Boys,” in L.A.
“Sniper” is set to be released next year.
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Melissa Medialdea contributed to this post.