Angelina Jolie to Direct WWII Drama 'Unbroken'

Angelina Jolie Blood and Honey Screening Headshot - P 2012
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Angelina Jolie Blood and Honey Screening Headshot - P 2012

The film tells the story of Olympian and war veteran Louis Zamperini, who survived on a raft for weeks after a plane crash and later was captured by the Japanese.

Angelina Jolie is in talks to direct the World War II drama Unbroken for Universal Pictures and Walden Media.

The film is an adaptation of the 2010 book by Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit: An American Legend) and tells the story of Olympic athlete and Air Force officer Louis Zamperini, who survived a plane crash during World War II and clung to life on a raft for 47 days. He was captured by the Japanese and served hard time in a POW camp.

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Hillenbrand’s book spent 108 on the New York Times best-seller list, including 14 weeks at No. 1.

“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.  “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 news was announced by Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley and Walden Media CEO Michael Bostick.

“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 in a joint 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.”

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The latest draft of the script was written by William Nicholson (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Gladiator, Les Miserables), with an earlier draft having been written by Richard LaGravenese. Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff are producing with Mick Garris serving as executive producer. 

Jolie made her directorial debut with 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey. This would be her first time helming a film for a major studio. Jolie is represented by UTA for directing and attorney Robert Offer.

Nicholson is represented by CAA and in the U.K. by The Agency. His attorney is Alan Wertheimer.