American Sniper might as well be called American Fake Baby. Whatever the (very real) issues and reactions people are having to the film — even Seth Rogen weighed in — there's one thing that can be universally agreed upon by the film's celebrators and critics alike: the baby is fake as hell. Sure, there are many pressing and problematic questions surrounding American Sniper: should Eastwood be making a hero out of Chris Kyle? Is the film prejudiced against Middle Eastern people? But the most troubling might be: Why use a fake infant? And not even attempt to make its movements look lifelike?
Though film columnist Anne Thompson offered a watery excuse on director Clint Eastwood's behalf, saying using the fake baby was indicative of his fast-paced, one-take style of directing, on Tuesday, a more solid rationale came out. The film's screenwriter, Jason Hall, tweeted (and then deleted) this answer:
Hate to ruin the fun but real baby #1 showed up with a fever. Real baby #2 was no show. (Clint voice) Gimme the doll, kid.
Nonsense, Hall: just because you gave us an answer doesn't mean it ruins all the fun that Fake Baby has brought us. Do I believe his explanation? Sure, Baby #2 was probably just too much of a diva to be burdened to even show up on set. That said, here are some other explanations I considered before in order to make sense of this chaos of Babygate before Hall illuminated us.
Bradley Cooper is afraid of babies.
American Sniper? More like American Bachelor! Just kidding. But really, Cooper has been married and then divorced and then betrothed and now dating a model, so maybe he really just fears commitment and the overwhelming responsibility of a child. He even looks uncomfortable holding this fake baby, like a high school kids given a sack of flour and suddenly they realize that Growing Up Sucks.
Babies are afraid of Bradley Cooper.
So he's handsome (to some), but personally I find his beady eyes a little... menacing. Babies can pick up on that.
Parents were possibly afraid of this Clint Eastwood GIF.
LOOK AT THIS GIF. Would you bring your infant child within arm's reach of this GIF?
An elaborate marketing ploy gone wrong
Let's face it, you can't really market merchandise for American Sniper the way you can market Olaf dolls from Frozen. Maybe the marketing team was trying something new and wanted to sell Bradley Cooper Fake Baby dolls, so children could practice being just as uncomfortable around smaller children.
Or an artistic vision gone wrong(er)
Eastwood could have been going for something more avant garde and interpretive, accessing the same creative outlet that made him talk to an empty chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention. You never know. The man's a wildcard.
Images: Giphy (5).