At 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14, Cinemark West Plano will host a red carpet benefit screening of "American Sniper," a Clint Eastwood film based on the story of one of the most lethal military snipers in American history, U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
Kyle is played by Bradley Cooper, who will be walking the red carpet accompanied by Kyle's wife, Taya Kyle, as well as Jacob Schick, war relations specialist at the Brain Performance Institute at UT Dallas and an actor in the film.
Schick plays Wynn, a severely wounded Marine. For him, the process of filming the movie was all a learning experience, with this being his silver screen debut.
"It was all good until we started the dress rehearsals and then the nerves kicked in," Schick said. "But everyone was really cool. They just made it really easy, but I remember one of the drivers saying something about Clint Eastwood only allowing every scene to be shot in two takes."
A bit intimidated, Schick came to realize the director’s persona wasn't what he'd expected.
"Clint Eastwood is just a really great dude," Schick said. "You'd expect him to be this tough, gruff guy, but he was just really sweet and really soft spoken. I couldn't even hear him when he was saying ‘action’ half the time."
As a Marine veteran of the Iraq War who's survived a traumatic brain injury and shown symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Schick admittedly has had a rough time adapting to civilian life over the years. Filming the movie took mental preparation and at times hit pretty close to home.
"This is actually the first war movie I've actually sat down and watched," he said. "It was a little uncomfortable, but I'd read the script so I knew where they were going with it. But more than anything, it made me want to go back. There can never be enough hands on deck."
Proceeds from the advanced screening of the premiere will benefit the Chris Kyle Frog Foundation, an organization that encourages strong relationships between military members, first responders and their families, as well as support for veterans entering civilian life.
Schick said he hopes the movie will help viewers realize what veterans and their families go through during and after war.
"I hope it will give people a better understanding that it's a tough transition back into civilian life," he said. "I'm really hoping that other warriors can see this film, and maybe it will inspire them to seek help because [Chris Kyle] was one of the most resilient warriors there was, and if he could struggle, then it's not uncommon for others to struggle, especially coming out of such an abnormal situation and being expected to act 'normal' again."