Angelina Jolie is ready to get behind the camera again. The actress is finalizing a deal to direct her second film, the World War II drama “Unbroken,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The movie is an adaptation of the 2010 best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, which spent 108 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, including 14 weeks at #1. It focuses on Olympic athlete and war veteran Louis Zamperini, who survived a plane crash during the war, clinging to life on a raft for 47 days before being captured by the Japanese and sentenced to a prisoner of war camp.
“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 in a statement announcing the movie. “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.”
The subject matter is right up Jolie’s alley. She made her directorial debut in 2011 with “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” which chronicled a love story in the midst of the 1990s Bosnian war. The latest draft of the script is by “Gladiator” and “Les Misérables” co-writer William Nicholson.
Zamperini was a track prodigy who traveled to Berlin in 1936 for the Olympics at age 19 and though he didn’t medal, his speedy final lap in the 5,000 meter race so impressed Adolf Hitler that the German dictator requested a personal meeting with the runner. He enlisted in the Air Force in September 1941 and in April 1942 his plane went down in the ocean, killing eight of the 11 men onboard.
The survivors lived on rainwater and raw fish and survived a bombing by a Japanese airplane before Zamperini, now 96, and another man, Russell Phillips, reached the Marshall Islands and were captured by the Japanese Navy and held in captivity until August 1945.