In a movie that no doubt paints those “50 Shades of Grey” director rumours false, Angelina Jolie will next direct the WWII POW Drama “Unbroken”. Deadline, who broke the news, says Jolie bet a number of known directors to win helming duties on the movie.
The feature adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction bestseller ”Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” had previously snared Francis Lawrence’s (“The Hunger Games : Catching Fire”) interest.
The movie tells of Olympian-turned-WWII POW Louis Zamperini.
A troubled and rambunctious Depression era kid, Zamperini found his stride as a track prodigy who was the youngest member of the U.S. team that traveled to Berlin for the 1936 Olympics. He didn’t medal, but turned in such a blazing final lap that Hitler asked to meet him. The expectation was that Zamperini would be a favorite to win a medal in the 1940 Olympics scheduled for Tokyo. Unfortunately, those games were canceled because of WWII. When Zamperini landed in Japan, he was wearing the uniform of an Air Force bombardier.
After his aircraft went down in the Pacific during a rescue mission, Zamperini and two other crew mates survived on a raft in the hot sun for 47 days, battling hunger, thirst and sharks. It got worse when they were caught by the Japanese Navy. That started a terrifying term of captivity at the hands of brutal Japanese guards who threatened to behead Zamperini, and who beat him brutally. One sadistic guard in particular exulted in trying to break Zamperini, but he could never do it. And by the time Zamperini returned to Japan and carried that torch, he’d forgiven his brutal captor–known as The Bird–and even offered to meet him to forgive him in person. The man refused.
“In her life and in her work, Angelina has embraced stories and causes involving great struggle and triumph over tremendous odds and the basic human condition,” Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley said in a statement. “She has a real ability to illustrate the strength in human spirit which will be essential in telling Lou’s story of survival and great heroism.”
“I read Laura Hillenbrand’s brilliant book, and I was so moved by Louie Zamperini’s heroic story, I immediately began to fight for the opportunity to make this film,” Jolie said. “Louie is a true hero and a man of immense humanity, faith and courage. I am deeply honored to have the chance to tell his inspiring story.”
William Nicholson wrote the latest draft of the script.