Critics are complaining that Clint Eastwood’s film American Sniper used baby dolls instead of real infants. In an industry full of movies about dinosaurs and androids, why is this such a big deal?
Perhaps these viewers have never hung out with a real baby. Babies are unpredictable and frankly, pretty gross. I spent about an hour and a half trying to get nice newborn portraits of my son nine years ago. He managed to cry for 90 percent of the shoot. He also pooped in my socks. In my socks.
Do you think Bradley Cooper wants baby poop in his socks? Probably not. Method acting only goes so far.
Now it’s been “revealed” that the production used dolls when one baby showed up sick and the other didn’t show up at all. This kind of gotcha is pretty silly. Next we’ll hear that infant actors showed up still milk-drunk from an all-nighter.
The truth is, it’s pretty weird for tiny babies to be in movies at all. Not only is it a huge inconvenience to the production since babies can only work for a handful of minutes at a time, it’s also totally unnecessary. American Sniper didn’t pick the most realistic fake baby doll out there, but it’s not like actual squirming infants were the only way to do it right. Hollywood sunk the Titanic 18 years ago. Hollywood made dinosaurs walk the earth 22 years ago.
Hollywood can fake a baby today.
Using special effects instead of real infants would also solve the irritating issue of 6-month-old babies being used in birth scenes. No woman wants to watch a doctor hand an enormous baby to a (tearfully) smiling actress who supposedly just pushed the massive thing out of her vagina. That’s a perfect opportunity to use a slimy, jiggly baby doll, right?