It’s that time of year again! There’s a lot of talk about which movies, directors and actors have a chance of winning big at the Oscars next year, but one overlooked upcoming release is American Sniper. Clint Eastwood is directing the movie which stars American Hustle’s Bradley Cooper as Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

American Sniper has been a passion project of Cooper’s for quite some time now and it was him who optioned the novel of the same name. The impressive cast also includes Kyle Gallner, Luke Grimes, Cory Hardrict, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Sienna Miller, and it has a December 25th release date in the US.

Tragically, Chris Kyle was killed on a shooting range in 2013 by a troubled Marine and that meant Bradley Cooper was only able to have one conversation with him before his shocking death.

In a recent interview, the actor said: “Thank God I got to talk to him once on the phone. It was a very quick conversation. But I did tell him how serious I was about making this movie. And he should just know that whatever fears he had about Hollywood, to just put them aside and trust me. That I was going to do everything I could to tell this story.” The novel looks back at Kyle’s amazing career as a Navy Seal – during which he was responsible for over 150 confirmed kills – but his death puts more pressure on Cooper.

“I had to do right by him and his family, there was really no choice. You’re sitting across the dining-room table talking to this person’s father and mother. And his children and wife are there. And he’s passed away. Knowing that they are putting all of their stories in your hands and the responsibly of that, it’s actually unique.” To view the full size versions of the images below, simply click on the thumbnails.