Angelina Jolie to Direct UNBROKEN, the Story of Lou Zamperini, Olympian Turned WWII POW
Deadline has confirmed that Angelina Jolie, acclaimed actress and humanitarian, is in final negotiations to direct UNBROKEN, the story of Olympian Lou Zamperini, who, in World War II, was captured and held as a prisoner of war. The biopic, though it has undergone different names, has been in in development for 55 years. With Jolie potentially attached, the project how has its best chance at entering production.
UNROKEN would be Jolie's second time in the director's chair, previously helming IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY. Deadline also reports that Jolie 'campaigned hard' for the position against many other more established directors. William Nicholson (GLADIATOR, LES MISERABLES) has written the most recent draft of the film; it is primarily based upon UNBROKEN: A WORLD WAR II STORY OF SURVIVAL, RESILIENCE AND REDEMPTION by SEABISCUIT scribe Laura Hillenbrand.
"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," the studio 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."
The studio's statement directly reflects her unwavering devotion towards her humanitarian creed, often visiting impoverished countries and their people, as well as adopting children of her own.
"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 told Deadline. "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."
No casting or production dates have been set at this time, but as Zamperini prepares to celebrate his 96th birthday in 2013, it's reported that now, more than ever, he's prepared to be involved in the film adaptation that captures his life.