Angelina Jolie to Direct “Unbroken” Adaptation

By Kirsten Anderson Uncategorized

Angelina Jolie will do WW II drama.

Angelina Jolie is heading back to the director’s chair, and this time it’s for a movie in English that mainstream audiences might want to see.

Universal Pictures and Walden Media announced yesterday that Jolie will direct “Unbroken,” an adaptation of the bestselling nonfiction book by Laura Hillenbrand. Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

Hillenbrand wrote the fantastic book “Seabiscuit,” which was made into a mediocre at best movie (no, I’m still not over that disappointment).

Jolie made her directorial debut in 2011 with the “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” Here’s what she had to say about the project.

“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,” said Jolie. “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 is writing another draft of Richard LaGravanese’s earlier version.

Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley and Walden Media Chief Executive Officer, Michael Bostick made the announcement. Here are there statements:

“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,” said Fogelson and Langley. “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.”

Added Bostick, “We’re thrilled that Angelina will bring this epic story to the big screen. Lou’s is one of history’s most incredible and inspiring stories, and we are excited to partner with such a passionate filmmaker to share it with audiences all over the world.”

Everybody’s excited! Now just do better than the”Seabiscuit” movie.

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