Photos Of The Real Barry Seal From 'American Made' Only Add To The Mystery Around His Life

Share
Ad failed to load

Tom Cruise is moving on from his Mummy-fied adventures in 2017, with his next big release, American Made, hitting theaters soon. Considering the film is based on a real person and real events, viewers might be clamoring to see photos of Barry Seal, subject of American Made, exist as well as other materials that could give curious people insight into the man behind the legend. While there aren't too many photos of Seal available for public consumption, it's interesting that what does exist adds yet another interesting layer to the man's public persona, on top of the incredible story of his life.

American Made charts Seal's journey from an airline pilot to a man working for both the United States government as well as the infamous Medellin Cartel, smuggling drugs to the U.S. from South America. While the film tends to blur the line between fact and fiction, Seal's exploits, at least as the film portrays them, feel larger than life, far more fantastic — despite being very high stakes — than we could ever imagine.

The photos available on social media of seal, which seem to be taken near the end of his life, before he was assassinated, are quite telling. Interestingly, it would seem that casting Tom Cruise to play Seal has given a bit of a Hollywood sheen to Seal, physically speaking, as there's little to no resemblance between the two men.

Ad failed to load

While very few pictures are available on the internet of Seal or his family, that dearth only seems to heighten the curiosity around this man. Considering American Made does, to an extent, stretch the truth of Seal's exploits, seeing photos of him smiling for cameras or posing for a family photo make it seem like he must have been a good-natured family man (which is how it appears Cruise portrays him, in part, in the film) but that there's more going on there than meets the eye.

For a man who appeared to live larger than life before his untimely death, the fact that so few photos are circulating of him (especially given American Made's increased marketing push in the final weeks before its release) is interesting. But luckily, we know enough about Seal that we can fill in the gaps between the photos to get a better sense of who he was.

Ad failed to load

Cruise was right to say that Seal is an interesting man. From an August interview with People magazine, Cruise said that playing Seal left him of two minds about the man. "I don’t agree with what he was doing, but you can’t help but be utterly fascinated by it," he commented, adding, "[o]ne of my favorite authors is Mark Twain, and Seal reminds me of one of his characters,” adds Cruise. “It’s not every day you get to play a character who is a devoted husband and father and a drug runner, a CIA operative working for the DEA."

That dichotomy of feeling about Seal is understandable and it's easy to see how Cruise himself would be utterly fascinated by a man whose life is so strikingly dissimilar to the average Joe's. It's not every day you hear about a guy who can graduate from being an experienced pilot running his own small airline advertising agency to working for Pablo Escobar, running billions of dollars worth of drugs (and making millions in the process) between two nations, and becoming deeply entrenched in one of the most infamous cartels of the 20th century. It'd all feel like an apocryphal tale if it wasn't true.

Ad failed to load

American Made seeks to tell the story of Seal's life and fill in those gaps that we don't get filled in from the photos or the personal accounts. Even with little real-life material to go on, it's clear the Seal's life was, as Cruise put it, "utterly fascinating" from start to finish.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here's Where Your Next Trip Should Be, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

If you've been craving a vacation, now is a good time to take the plunge. According to data collected by travel site Expedia, late winters and early spring are pretty much the best times of the year to go on vacation. Based on average airfare ticket …
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

Bustle's Editors On Jennifer Aniston + Adam Rippon

We've made it to Friday! It's been a pretty hectic week, and the news that Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux are splitting up might have put a damper on your weekend. But, if like many people you have Monday off, hopefully you can sit back and enjo…
By Rachel Simon

This Timeline Of Justin Theroux & Jennifer Aniston's Relationship Will Break Your Heart All Over Again

Just one day after Valentine's Day, actors Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced their breakup after seven years together. The celebrity couple, who were married for two-and-half years, separated quietly at the end of last year. This week, th…
By Priscilla Totiyapungprasert

19 Things Your Parents Told You Were Illegal In The '90s

Kids say — and think — the darnedest things. We have overactive imaginations, adults like to mess with us, and we don't always understand everything we hear. That's why some kids call strawberries "straw babies" — a boo-boo so adorable, you don't eve…
By Megan Grant

Why Uggs Are Never Going Away, Whether You Like Them Or Not

Uggs. The word alone can conjure up memories of teenage years, regrettable outfits, and undeniable comfort. But if, like me, you thought that you've already said goodbye to those fleece-lined tan boots, you can think again. It seems fashion has adopt…
By Lauren Sharkey

I Never Want To Write This Essay Again

I don't know where you were when you heard about Wednesday's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I don't know what you were doing, or how you tried to process the news. I do know this: you thought to yourself, not again. And yet, again. Of cou…
By Jenny Hollander

Netflix's New Romantic Movie Will Have You Crying Like It's 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Cancer movies are a heartbreaking staple of Hollywood and have been for decades. It's almost a law of nature: new year, new cancer movie. This year, it's Netflix's Irreplaceable You, a heartbreaking original about a longtime couple who get thrown for…
By Olivia Truffaut-Wong

A Study Suggests Drinking Soda Can Affect Your Fertility — But Don’t Freak Out Just Yet

An awful lot of things can affect fecundability — that is, the probability of conceiving within a single menstrual cycle — but can soda really decrease your chances of getting pregnant? A new study suggests that it might, although it turns out that t…
By Lucia Peters

Here Are All The Terms You Need To Know If You’re Watching Olympic Ski Events Right Now

Every four years the Winter Olympics rolls around to remind me that A) there are so many important Winter Olympic sports, and B) I know virtually nothing any of them. And I know for a fact, I'm not alone, I bet most people don't know what the differe…
By Danielle Colin-Thome

Money Actually CAN Buy Happiness — And Science Figured Out Exactly How Much It Costs

You’ve probably heard the saying “Money can’t buy happiness.” Personally, I’d be more than willing to test out that hypothesis myself, but researchers at Purdue University beat me to it. Researchers found that there is an actual amount of money it ta…
By Katie Mitchell

Kate Middleton Made Sales Of This $1 Secret Accessory Spike & She'll Turn You Into A Believer

There's a royal epidemic going on, people. It's one that causes any and everyone to obsess over the royal family's wardrobe and beauty routines, even if it means breaking the bank to look like them. So a frenzy was expected when Kate Middleton report…
By Summer Arlexis

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Have Matching Tattoos & The Story Is So Cute

Olympic season gives people the feels. From those shipping Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to Shaun White's gold medal win on Tuesday, the feels are real. Now, there's another reason to get all up in your emotions. Adam Rippon a…
By Shea Simmons

A New Study Says Being In A Relationship Could Change Your Taste In Wine — Here's How

I’d be willing to bet that for many of you, a nice bottle of wine is awaiting you in your near future — and if you’re planning on sharing that bottle with a partner, there might be more to your choice than meets the eye: According to recent research,…
By Lucia Peters

Carrie Brownstein On Why Even The Obama Era Should Have Enraged You

An icy January morning soon after Hollywood's show of solidarity for the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes and almost exactly one year into the Trump Administration feels like a momentous time to be sitting across from Carrie Brownstein. The Sleat…
By Samantha Rollins

Here’s What The Upcoming Year Of The Dog Means For Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

On Feb. 16 the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dog in like the good doggo it is — we hope. A new year means new zodiac predictions for the 365 days ahead. So, what does the Year of the Dog mean for your Chinese zo…
By Brittany Bennett

7 Signs You're Ready To Get Into A Relationship, According To Experts

It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're …
By Lea Rose Emery

I Got A Breast Reduction & It Was About So Much More Than The Size Of My Boobs

As a young teenager, I pretty much reached peak physical maturity overnight. One day I was wearing my first training bra a la Lizzie McGuire, and the next I was sweatily fumbling around a Victoria’s Secret with 32DD boobs, trying to summon up the cou…
By Sierra Taylor Horton

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
via Romper

The 15 Best Fiction Books Of February Feature Tons Of Extraordinary Women

When the cold winds of February blow in, there's nothing I want more than to hide under my covers with a good book. Luckily, there's more than a few fantastic new fiction books coming out this month, so the only tough decision you'll have to make is …
By Melissa Ragsdale

These 10 Drugstore Red Lipsticks Are Under $10 & Actually *Amazing*

I adore makeup. There are few things I like more than getting myself fancied up in the mornings. It's a little ritual I get to do every day that makes me feel prettier and more put together. When my makeup is on, I'm ready to face the world — pun int…
via Romper

17 Moms Reveal The Most Disgusting Part Of Their Pregnancy

Pregnant bodies do weird-ass things. Weird-ass, gross things. I mean, my pregnant body did (twice), and I have long-suspected I'm not alone. So I asked other moms to share the most disgusting part of their pregnancy and I learned that, not only am I …
via Romper