Debbie Lee, the mother of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle’s fellow Navy SEAL Marc Lee, has nothing but praise for the film, but does take exception with how her son is portrayed.
“The Marc Lee you see portrayed in that movie is not my son,” Debbie Lee said Tuesday on Newsmax TV’s “America’s Forum.” “I tell people the true part of Marc. His name was Marc Lee, he did get shot in the mouth and he did have a funeral.
“Other than that, they took quite liberties and licensing on Marc’s character.”
Marc Lee was fatally wounded in 2006 at age 28 while providing fire cover for his fellow SEAL Team 3 members during a battle in Ramadi, Iraq. In the movie he is depicted as having become disillusioned with the war, but his mother said that couldn’t be further from the truth.
A letter he wrote to his family two weeks before his death is misconstrued in the movie, she said.
“We call Marc’s letter his glory letter,” she said. “Some men seek glory and others find it stumbling on them. Marc wasn’t seeking glory, it stumbled on him, but that paragraph totally takes Marc’s letter out of context.
“Marc believed in the mission and what he was doing there. There’s one line in the film where Marc’s character says ‘I don’t believe in what we’re doing here’ and that wasn’t true. The distortion to take his last letter home, read that part.
“I don’t want to give away the whole film, but there’s a discussion after Marc’s funeral where Chris and Taya are talking in the truck and she says ‘what’s up with that letter?’ and Chris’s reply to her was ‘Marc didn’t die in Ramadi that day, Marc died when he wrote that letter. That was life leaving him’ and it could not be further from the truth.
“Marc’s letter was written about two weeks before he died to just a few family and friends, and that was Marc living on here on earth even long past.”
Debbie Lee understands that “liberties and licensing” take place when making movies, but said it was hurtful to see her child, who gave his life for his country and his fellow soldiers, made out to be less than 100 percent committed to the mission, which he was.
“It felt like an attack on Marc to us who knew the real Marc, knew him and knew his story,” she said. “People said part of Clint Eastwood’s style is when there’s a hero in the movie that they really lift him up and push everybody around him down to make him look even bigger than life. Chris didn’t need to be made bigger than life. He was surrounded by warriors.
“I don’t know what was changed because of direction or screenwriting, but I do want people to know that wasn’t the real Marc.
“That Marc that you saw portrayed on the screen was not who my son was, it was not his character. The day he died, he stood out in the direct line of fire three different times that day and willingly gave his life to save his teammates and give the gift of life to them,” she said.
“Life’s never been easy on me, so for me this is just another way to keep me in the fight, keep sharing Marc’s story, who he was, what he was like, his story, keep that alive and his memory.”