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Angelina Jolie Recalls Emotional Experience of Showing 'Unbroken' to Louis Zamperini on His Death Bed

Angelina Jolie Recalls Emotional Experience of Showing 'Unbroken' to Louis Zamperini on His Death Bed

Angelina Jolie wears a white coat and waves to the cameras while arriving at the Directors Guild Theatre for a screening of Unbroken on Wednesday evening (December 3) in New York City.

The 39-year-old actress/director spoke with press to recall the emotional moment she showed the movie to its subject Louis Zamperini on his death bed earlier this year.

“Louie was a part of the journey from the beginning. We’d call him sometimes and say ‘Does the raft look right,’ or, ‘Did you or did you not have a screwdriver?’ So he was always aware of it. But I hadn’t shown him the film. I was saving it,” Angelina said (via Vanity Fair). “But I found out that he’d gone into the hospital, so I had it downloaded on my laptop and I drove to the hospital and held it over him, like this, so he could see it.”

Click inside to find out what happened when she pressed play on the movie…

“And it’s hard to explain. How do you explain that moment? It wasn’t a judgment on a film and how well-acted or well-crafted it was. It was a man watching his life. It was a man at the end of his life, his extraordinary life”this mountain of a man, with his physical strength, at 97 years old . . . I had to help him a glass of water, his legs were very, very thin”watching himself run and win in the Olympics, watching his brother, watching his mother make gnocchi, watching all that he accomplished, all that he survived. And because he was a man of such strong faith, I think he was preparing himself, I know he was, preparing himself to die. And so he was also preparing himself to see his mother, and Phil, and Mac, and everybody. So it was hard to explain what it was. It was watching somebody relive all their experiences and prepare for that great, powerful, extraordinary, inspiring, long life to end.”

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  • lucy

    Angie looks beautiful.

  • plez

    Great coat.

  • Bwest

    Congratulacions, Mrs Pitt! Great movie!

  • lurker

    she is killing it with her fashion choices am really proud of her

  • lucy

    Angie’s skin is glowing, she has gorgeous skin. Love her coat.

  • mountainbdywhs

    Angelina Jolie thinks she’s doing good, I’m sure. But all she’s doing with all this hero worship stuff is creating a infantile culture where we, the ordinary people, worship and aspire to be them, the heroes. Brangeloonies, please suckle on the generosity and kindness of god Brad and goddess Angie, because they’re YOUR reason for being. Welcome to the church of the 21st century, where the divine live and walk amongst us. Empty your wallets and be pious, please, as you busk in the glow of the anointed ones. Then you, too, can be a hero in YOUR life, and experience the profound awakening of maximising the power of the human spirit. Even grade school English classes don’t condescend to people like this. I think even a week-long Unleash the Power Within by Anthony Robbins seminar would be preferable.

  • Love the JoliePitts

    Good night to all the lovely fans.

    Wonderbust! Can’t say, “Thank you” enough times for your generous sharing of your Unbroken experience. Yours was the BEST review of the movie. I can’t wait to see it now. And for telling us how beautiful Angelina is. We know she is but it is always refreshing to hear it from a fan who sees her in person.

    Passing Through I hope you feel much better and are on your way to full recovery.
    Phool, and Rose and FALP…..I miss you ladies so much and so does everyone on the boards. Please give us a “hello.” Phool I hope a migraine does not have you disabled.

    Lylian! Thanks for all your encouraging and upbeat posts. You do always try to bring a balance to these boards. Please know your efforts are never overlooked and always appreciated.

    I read somewhere on one of the threads where Angelina said during her French interview that she did this movie because she “Loves my husband and my sons.” I only saw a portion of it. If anyone has that interview please share it again. Thanks so much.

    Good night.

  • Felinelilly

    ..aaand, Angelina is making me cry. Beautiful story about Louis and her time with him at the hospital.

  • mountainbdywhs

    Mythomania in full form!

  • Andy pham

    I love her she so beautiful inside and out side

  • Dame the ring

    Leer Gold ‏@lmgold21 now23 seconds ago Chicago, IL
    David Oyelowo & Ava DuVernay’s portrayal of MLK in #Selma was majestic, powerful & beyond confident.Incredible filmmaking……

    Nigel ‏@hugo84 now42 seconds ago
    Saw a preview of Selma tonight. A powerful, emotion packed movie experience. Masterful acting & a strong screenplay. Moving Q&A after. 5/5

    Amanda Pendolino ‏@amandapendo now1 minute ago
    #SELMA (directed by @AVAETC, written by Paul Webb) is a masterpiece. See it.


  • joam

    Ty JJ ;)

  • African Queen

    Beautiful Lady and I love the coat.
    Simply Classy.

  • African Queen

    It will be nice if Angie and Brad brings Unbroken to the DC Area. This Fan will be calling out from work that day and will die over if I get to take a photo with both of them.
    :) Please make my wish come true this holiday.

  • tweet

    Mr. Adam R. Dugas ‏@adamrdugas now31 seconds ago

    @AVAETC better get nominated for BEST DIRECTOR at Oscars. And then win. Outrageous, beautiful, heartbreaking, thrilling, suspenseful: SELMA.

  • suzie

    She looks more and more like her mum. I hope her movie is successful.

  • well

    Well, well- GORGEOUS Angie! BTW, I’ve noticed that people are bringing lots of Maleficent items for Angie to sign…it is still HUGE on twitter…seems to be’s really struck a chord with so many people- both Angie & Mal are cultural icons :)

    t a t e ‏@tateyy_ 58m58 minutes ago
    seriously, maleficent is my new favorite movie

  • shazia35

    Congratulations to Jimmy and Nancy on the arrival of their beautiful baby girl. Shame Show got cancelled was looking forward to it , but many more will come with Angie.
    Angie looks divine in her baby pink coat and hair down, and Darren Afronosky doing the Q&A what an honour to have a Driector of ‘that level’ doing Q&A.

  • shazia35

    Maleficent items are a ‘must have’ on this years Christmas lists along with Frozen, and getting Angie to sign them well thats extra bonous isnt it.

  • shazia35

    Thank you for your kind words to me in your post on the last Angie thread.

  • shazia35

    she needs to share her beauty secrets.

  • shazia35

    The V Foundation @TheVFoundation · 10h10 hours ago
    Universal Pictures’ ‘Unbroken’ has made a generous donation to The V Foundation. Thank you for your support. #IAmUnbroken #DontGiveUp

  • shazia35

    Milena Prinzi‏@MilePrinzi
    Screening of “Unbroken” with @darrenaronofsky and #AngelinaJolie (@ Directors Guild Theater)

  • shazia35

    Concrete Playground ‏@PLAYGROUNDnews 2h2 hours ago
    MELBOURNE /// Don’t let us watch Brad Pitt + eat ice cream alone. Grab your double pass to #FuryMovie @stkildaopenair

  • theful

    I think a lot of ppl only watched Mal recently on DVD. Mal will definitely be mentioned in the few years to come.

  • shazia35


  • shazia35

    Jake Hamilton ‏@JakesTakes 6h6 hours ago
    Roger Deakins is one of the best cinematographers ever. While he may win his 1st Oscar for UNBROKEN, his best work, to date, is JESSE JAMES.

  • theful

    lol, I dreamed about meeting Angie once and totally freaked out in the dream. Can’t imagine what it’s like meeting her in real life. I may stop breathing for real.

  • shazia35

    LOL, I like you dream freak out. I think i’f id see her in person i’d go in mega meltdown.

  • shazia35


    #MIYAVI x Dave Grohl ( @foofighters )

    Epic Photo by @SIRIUSXM

  • theful

    Yeah. I won’t be able to cope with such a beauty being in front of me.

  • JJt

    Wow The Jimmy V foundation, that’s very awesome.

  • shazia35

    Wonderbust saw her and says she is just more beautiful in person, if ever that is possible , so in Angies case it is .

  • theful

    I believe her. Angie’s aura is unbelievable on screen. Must be more so in reality!

  • shazia35

    JJt,via Unbroken Universal and Angie are supporting very good causes. I know its Angelina charatable influnece that they are following .They had donated all the proceedings from UK premiure to UK army Vetrans and the Poppy Appeal foundation. Very Worthy causes.

  • shazia35

    No wonder Brad says she takes his breath away or was ity he Gasps at her beauty , any way same thing, lucky devil LOL

  • JJt

    I had no idea they donated so much and to worthy causes. Thanks for the information.

  • theful

    Exactly. He should gasp for his life. lol. I say Brad is the lucky one.

  • shazia35

    Unbroken beats the odds to tell a remarkable story
    There’s something almost unbelievable about the life of Louis Zamperini, the USC alumnus whose life story propels Angelina Jolie’s new film Unbroken. His story reads like a series of Oscar-winning movie plots. He rose above adversity to distinguish himself competing in the 1936 Olympic games, recalling Chariots of Fire. His plane was shot down during the second World War and he survived adrift on the Pacific Ocean for 47 days, evoking shades of Life of Pi. Finally, as in Bridge on the River Kwai, he endured two years in a Japanese POW camp, and still emerged with his spirit intact. Seeing the sheer amount of inspirational life events in Zamperini’s story, one isn’t surprised to see that it was adapted into its own film, earning increasing awards buzz by the day. Despite this, the process to get Unbroken made was far from the slam-dunk it looks like now.

    Long time coming · The film rights for Louis Zamperini’s autobiography were originally bought by Universal in 1956 but, due to setbacks, the movie based on his life is only coming out this Christmas. Unbroken is directed by Angelina Jolie and stars Jack O’Connell as Zamperini. – Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

    In fact, studios have been struggling to bring Zamperini’s story to the big screen since 1956. To give a sense of how long the project has been percolating, the actor originally slated to play Zamperini was none other than a pre-Some Like it Hot Tony Curtis. He eventually dropped out of the project to play Antonius in Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus, and the Zamperini project was stashed. Cast aside like countless other scripts, the screenplay laid untouched by studios for four decades. It wasn’t until 1998 when Matthew Baer, the producer of Unbroken, saw a documentary about Zamperini, that the story gained any traction again. “When I first saw the documentary in 1998 that CBS Sports had made, I thought it was such a remarkable story of survival and hope. Especially in seeing the footage of Lou [Zamperini] running the torch into Nagano. And I was so surprised that nobody had told the story before,” Baer said.

    But, despite tabbing a young Nicolas Cage in the role and getting the gears churning on this project, it took another 16 years, and several setbacks, for Unbroken to finally become a reality.

    It is easy to make the analogy that, to get made, the film had to run a similar gauntlet to Zamperini’s, but the more interesting question is why a story with so many ready-for-film moments was so difficult to get made.

    Funnily enough, Baer credits that same wealth of life events as one of the main reasons for the difficulty in getting the film made. “The singular problem in making Lou [Zamperini’s] life into a film is that its such a big story and we had to try a variety of approaches over the years in terms of how long the story goes,” Baer said.

    The story went through several rewrites, as Baer and a series of writers struggled to pare the story down into a workable size for a feature film. But, as is often the case, it took until a director with a vision and some clout to finally get the project off of the ground.

    In the case of Unbroken, that director was Angelina Jolie. Despite having only directed one other feature film, Jolie brought a vision for the film that impressed Baer. “She had a very clear vision of what she wanted and…[Jolie] has a lot of passion for stories that she wants to tell. Particularly it was what she wanted to do with the script made a great deal of sense and then what her directorial vision was, was included in that,” Baer said. Once Jolie was spearheading the project, everything else seemed to fall into place.

    One of the most important pieces of the puzzle was finding an actor to step into Louis Zamperini’s shoes. Eventually, after being noticed for his work on Skins, Jack O’Connell was tabbed as the successor from Curtis and Cage for the role. “Angie [Jolie] felt very strongly he was the right person because he has so much in common with Lou [Zamperini] in terms of independence and strong will,” Baer said. “Specifically you could just tell that his feisty spirit was exactly right for the port.” O’Connell quickly took to the role and has been generating awards buzz for his emotionally charged performance. Baer also credited Jolie for drawing from her considerable acting experience to give O’Connell plenty of guidance as to the nuances of his character. The rest of the cast is filled with young, up-and-coming talent as well. Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson and Jai Courtney are all actors on the rise and fill important roles in the film. Baer also highlighted the work of Takamasa Ishihara, who provided a powerful performance as Zamperini’s primary tormentor at the POW camp during the war.

    Another crucial piece was the addition of the incomparable Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan, to the team. The brothers, who were connected to the project because they have the same agent as Jolie, joined late in the game and rewrote the script, which had already passed through the hands of several writers. The script given to them was already essentially the finished product, but Baer credits their masterful touch as crucial to the film.

    “Joel and Ethan [Coen] did a number of really crucial things in the structure of the script. And then very specifically [they] obviously have such a beautiful feel for dialogue that is concise yet meaningful. So there are loads of examples of small moments that they gave throughout the script.” The Coen brothers are film royalty, and it is a testament to the influence that someone with the connections that Jolie has can bring to a film on top of her directorial talent.

    Louis Zamperini’s life story seems made to order for an inspirational film, so much so, that it’s been an almost six-decade struggle to present it believably on the big screen. Finally, with the impressive talent that has come together around the story’s champion Baer, it seems there will finally be a fitting tribute to the man’s unbelievable life.

  • shazia35

    They both are, thank god they came together when the time was right and long may it continue.

  • shazia35

    Angie has also donated privatley to the Homless Vetrans, along with publicaly helping with their Christmas Appeal.

  • shazia35

    5) There’s still time for surprises: Mostly ignored so far are “Interstellar,” “Into the Woods,” “The Theory of Everything,” “Big Eyes,” “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and “Wild.” And some heavy-hitters have received modest attention so far, such as “Unbroken.” But that film is a good reminder of the goofiness of awards buzz. As soon as “Unbroken” was greenlit, its awards potential was mentioned, based on the material and Angelina Jolie as director. It’s been on a roller-coaster ride of expectations and backlash ever since, though ‘only a few have seen it’. But the 6,000 voters in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences have their own tastes. They gave best-picture nominations to a lot of films that had been low on the radar of earlier awards, ranging from “The Blind Side” to “True Grit” to “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”

  • JJt

    Don’t know if this has been posted…

    Working With Angelina Jolie: The Cinematographers Roundtable
    Cinematographer Roger Deakins (Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken) discusses how he’s still a nervous wreck the first day on set, how every film experience is different and how Unbroken is a very personal film.

  • JJt

    Really hope she goes on there before the movie opens up on Christmas. I have an idea that what might just happens.

  • theful

    They have very positive impact on each other and make each other stronger together!!!

  • shazia35

    I think as its NBC they wil reschedule it pending on Angie’s diary. Have a feeling they WILL do it before Unbroken opens

  • shazia35

    ITA. Their lives are much richer since they became one, for what it used to be .

  • theful

    I hear “Into the woods” being mentioned everywhere. Too bad, I dislike musicals. The only two movies I look forward to seeing are Interstellar and Unbroken. Interstellar’s got mixed reviews, the artists I follow praised it to the sky yet the media response is quite the opposite. I need to see it for myself when the time comes.

  • theful

    Not to mention they now are like the King and Queen of HW! Phenomenal, isn’t it! Haha.

  • JJt

    I really don’t pay much attention to movie reviews when it comes to seeing the movie or not.

    If I paid attention to the positive attention with some of the movies of last year, then I would’ve liked over-hyped, lousy movies like American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street. So glad I didn’t pay to see those movies and so glad they got shut out at the Oscars.