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Angelina Jolie Directing 'Unbroken', Story of Louis Zamperini

Angelina Jolie Directing 'Unbroken', Story of Louis Zamperini

Angelina Jolie is in final negotiations to direct the upcoming film Unbroken, the story of Olympian-turned-World War II prisoner of war Louis Zamperini, according to Deadline.

“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,” the 37-year-old filmmaker said in a statement. “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.”

“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,” Universal Pictures heads Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley said in a statement. “She has a real ability to illustrate he strength in human spirit which will be essential in telling Lou’s story of survival and great heroism.”

Unbroken will be Angelina‘s second feature as a director after last year’s In the Land of Blood and Honey.

FYI: Today is Angie‘s partner Brad Pitt‘s 49th birthday! Hope it is a great one!

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1,021 Comments

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# 1

Love this woman, go girl

# 2
9 months... @ 12/18/2012 at 10:04 pm

I am so happy for Angie! Go her!

# 3

happy birthday brad pitt you have been my fav actor forever

# 4

wow angie is amazing she always surprises me,so proud to be a fan

# 5
William Bradley&The Jolie @ 12/18/2012 at 10:11 pm

I got so excited by The Jolie’s news that I forgot to wish the one and only William Bradley Pitt a most wonderful 49th. Hope he had a wonderful celebration and with many, many more wonderful ones to come.

# 6

Wonderful news! Zamperini’s story is an incredible one and deserved to be told. I hope they can finally do it justice onscreen.

# 7
luvangie4ever @ 12/18/2012 at 10:11 pm

Whoa this is huge! Really great news, the book is indeed fantastic. And Angie is the perfect person to direct it. Love this news!!!

# 8

Angelina Jolie To Direct ‘Unbroken,’ The Incredible Story Of Lou Zamperini
By MIKE FLEMING JR. | Tuesday December 18, 2012 @ 9:19pm EST

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Walden Media are in final negotiations with with Angelina Jolie to direct Unbroken, the unbelievable story of Olympian-turned-WWII POW Louis Zamperini. The project, which Universal has developed for going on 55 years, is closer than ever to becoming a reality. Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff are producing.

For Jolie, this will mark her second film as director after she made her debut on In The Land Of Blood And Honey. This will be her first directing outing on a major studio film. It’s easy to imagine that the world’s biggest female star gets whatever she wants, but I’m told that she campaigned hard for the film against a number of other directors. Universal execs were very impressed with her sophisticated treatment of difficult subject matter. Her detailed take on Zamperini won her this job.

“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,” Fogelson and Langley said in a statement. “She has a real ability to illustrate he strength in human spirit which will be essential in telling Lou’s story of survival and great heroism.”

The film has a new script draft by Gladiator and Les Miserables co-writer William Nicholson, who rewrote an earlier draft by Richard LaGravanese. The script is based on Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, the book by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for over 108 straight weeks.

“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.”

I have been obsessed with Zamperini since I saw a segment on his ordeal broadcast during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. Zamperini was there to run with the Olympic torch, covering ground not far from where he spent an unimaginably brutal stretch in a Japanese prison camp during WWII. That is only a small part of Zamperini’s tale.

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.

The studio first bought Zamperini’s rights back in the 1950s, when Tony Curtis was eager to play Zamperini as his followup to Spartacus. Few movies gestate as long as this one, but it’s clear from Hillenbrand’s remarkable book that it was wise to wait. Zamperini had a lot of work to do to make himself whole again after enduring an ordeal that would break even the strongest of men. The unsung hero in the formation of this movie is Baer, the producer who has been struggling for 14 years to keep a promise to Zamperini. The project gained steam after Hillenbrand’s book was published and gave Zamperini’s story new urgency.

Jolie will oversee a final draft and then there is casting and a tough production schedule, but this movie should find its way into production next year. It’s co-financed by Universal and Walden, whose CEO Michael Bostick called Zamperini “one of history’s most incredible and inspiring stories.”

Zamperini turns 96 in January, and with the passion that Jolie and Universal now have for this story, he should have the opportunity to be part of its production and hopefully to see Unbroken on the screen. Jolie’s repped by UTA for directing and attorney Robert Offer.

# 9

You go girl!! congratulations to the beautiful and talented ms Jolie Pitt. Your mother is looking down from heaven I’m sure she is smiling right now. Brad and your children must be so proud of you.

angie is an inspiration. no wonder brad loves her. also, happy birthday brad pitt!
btw i told my man to get me chanel #5 for christmas.

I am happy for Anige…I can’t wait…God bless the Jolie-Pitts!

WOW this is exciting news. I had no ideas. Good for her.

Flabby manly face of Angelina @ 12/18/2012 at 10:20 pm

horrible face she has

Wonderbust @ 12/18/2012 at 10:22 pm

So excited for Angie! trolls will have a major meltdown tonight.

lanas-world @ 12/18/2012 at 10:24 pm

Awesome woman. Always was and always will be.

Wonderbust @ 12/18/2012 at 10:25 pm

so who do you all think or want to play Zamperini?

Congrats Angie.
You can’t keep a good woman down.
It’s going to be a long night for the spamming troll.

@AJ is hypocrite:
meltdown alert,poor losers,angie rocks

Flabby manly face of Angelina @ 12/18/2012 at 10:31 pm

No Hope, I really mean that Angelina’s face is horrible! So square and big and old and ugly! shes really gross!
ewwwwww
Seriously her face is hideous! I even cant realize that yous are saying her face is perfect! YOU NEED GLASSES! Shes not beautiful at all! Not the classic beauty

[~Fug Face Man!ston~] @ 12/18/2012 at 10:35 pm

Who flopped?

lol at the troll the loser forgot thant maniston invented ugly,the ugly big nose,the long chin,and beady eyes

food 4 thought @ 12/18/2012 at 10:36 pm

The Zamp is my hero. His story of unimaginable suffering and his strength and perseverance are so inspiring. And with faith and love, he not only survived, he thrived. God bless him a thousand times over – I’ll bet he will be excited that his story is coming to the screen. Jake G resembles the young Louis a bit, imo.

groundcontrol @ 12/18/2012 at 10:40 pm

Great news! Jolie showed real talent in her first feature length movie and it’s wonderful to see this woman stepping behind the camera once again.
.
It indeed will be a fascinating casting opportunity.

OMG she actually looks pretty, it must be for a movie.

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