Meet the Real-Life Navy SEAL Bradley Cooper Convinced to Play Himself in 'American Sniper'

by Raphael Chestang 5:56 PM PST, January 22, 2015
Playing Meet the Real-Life Navy SEAL Bradley Cooper Convinced to Play Himself in 'American Sniper'

ET sat down with retired Navy SEAL Kevin Lacz, who served with Chris Kyle, and played himself in American Sniper. He addressed the controversy over the film as well as how he came to be in it.

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"We as Navy SEALs, special operation soldiers, are professionals and, we aim to do our job like that all the time," Lacz told ET's Brooke Anderson. "I do realize that war is polarizing. I believe what this film does is it goes ahead and it offers a perspective into what a veteran goes through, what that family goes through, and we as a country heal."

There's no question that Lacz served his country with honor, and he told ET that the hardest part about being a SEAL was leaving the team.

"You form these relationships that you can't just pay money to get into that club," Lacz said. "You build those bonds and those bonds will last forever."

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So how did Lacz go from soldier and movie consultant to starring as himself in the movie? Bradley Cooper had a lot to do with it.

"They had set up a training for Bradley and I, and I ended up on a range in L.A. in February and Bradley's on the gun and he looks up. He's like, 'Ever think about playing yourself in the movie?'" Lacz explained. "I was completely at a loss for words. The next night he tells me, 'Hey, I'm going to tell Clint [Eastwood] you have to be in this movie."

Tragically, Kyle was killed months after returning home when a soldier he was mentoring with PTSD shot him at a Texas shooting range in February 2013. Lacz shared his favorite memory of being with Kyle.

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"Probably the day in 2007 when we were at our medal ceremony and my dad came and my wife was thereā€¦" Lacz recalled. "I have a picture of him and we both had our bronze stars on."