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[Movies] Angelina Jolie To Direct Film About Olympian Lou Zamperini
Posted by Joseph Lee on 12.19.2012

Deadline reports that Angelina Jolie is in negotiations with Universal Pictures and Walden Media to direct Unbroken, a story about Olympian-turned-WWII POW Louis Zamperini. The film has been in development for almost 55 years.

Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff will produce with Mick Garris as executive producer. This will be Jolie's second directorial effort after In The Land of Blood and Honey, and her first for a major studio. She campaigned for the film against several other directors, and executives were impressed with her treatment.

Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley said: "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. 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 latest script comes from William Nicholson (Gladiator, Les Miserables), rewriting an earlier draft by Richard LaGravanese. The film is based on the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit). It has been on The New York Times bestseller list for 108 weeks in a row.

Jolie said: "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. 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."

Universal first bought the rights to the film in the 1950s. Tony Curtis wanted to play Zamperini as his follow-up to Spartacus. Baer has been trying for fourteen years on his own to get the movie made, a promise he made to Zamperini.

Jolie will oversee a final draft of the script, then the film will begin casting and production, which should star next year. It will be co-financed by Universal and Walden, whose CEO Michael Bostick called Zamperini "one of history's most incredible and inspiring stories." As for Zamperini, he turns 96 in January and may finally get to see his story on the screen.


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