When Angelina Jolie met Louis Zamperini, the 96-year-old former Olympic runner and World War II prisoner of war, last winter, the two became fast friends.
Jolie is directing the film “Unbroken,” based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book, which chronicles the life of the bombardier who survived 47 days adrift in a lifeboat after a plane crash – only to be taken prisoner by the Japanese.
I’ve not read the book yet, but based on everything I’ve heard, it sounds amazing. And I love this photo Jolie released, which, to me, shows that she’s giving him the acclaim he so richly deserves. Her eyes are closed, she’s leaning on him, and she’s sort of in the background. It’s a perfect photo.
“Angelina is a human dynamo, and I know she will tell this story in the right way,” said Zamperini.
He gave Jolie a gold pendant in the shape of a running shoe – a prize from his running days – which she plans to wear during filming, which kicks off later this month.
“Like all readers of Laura’s book and all people who love and admire Louis, I am a fan,” said Jolie. “It will be hard to make a film worthy of this great man. I am deeply honored to have the chance.”
I believe her. She seems to take her work as a celebrity, filmmaker, actress and humanitarian very seriously. I have a feeling that “Unbroken” will be Oscar-worthy.
Jack O’Connell is playing the role of Zamperini, and other players include Domhnall Gleeson (Paula Schwartz wrote about him here), Garrett Hedlund, and Finn Wittrock.
Joel and Ethan Coen wrote the screenplay, along with Richard LaGravenese, who was recently nominated for an Emmy for HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra.”