A feature film adaptation of author Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption has been a coveted property essentially since the book hit shelves, and now it looks like the pic may finally be moving forward. Universal Pictures acquired the book rights back in January of 2011 for Francis Lawrence to direct and Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) set to write the script. The studio subsequently brought on Richard LaGravenese (P.S. I Love You) to take over scripting duties the following March, but movement has been quiet ever since.
The book tells the incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943. Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer. The project has now gained some strong momentum, as Angelina Jolie is being targeted to take the helm. Hit the jump for more.
Per Deadline, Jolie is in final negotiations with Universal and Walden Media to direct the feature film adaptation. Universal first bought Zamperini’s life rights back in the 1950s, so this project has been a very long time coming. The most recent draft of the script was written by Gladiator and Les Miserables scribe William Nicholson, and Jolie will oversee the fine-tuning of the script as production is expected to begin next year.
This will mark Jolie’s second film as a director, following last year’s Bosnian War drama In the Land of Blood and Honey. Apparently the Oscar-winning actress fought hard to land the job, beating out a number of other directors who were gunning to take the helm. It’s definitely an amazing story, and Jolie showed true talent behind the camera with Blood and Honey so hopefully she’ll be able to turn out something special.
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. [Amazon]