It was announced this week by Universal Pictures and Walden Media that actress turned director and producer Angelina Jolie is in talks to direct an upcoming big screen adaption of the New York Times bestselling novel “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand (“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”).
The novel was originally published in 2012 and follows the incredible life story of Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner of war camp. The book has sat atop the New York Timesbestseller list for more than 108 consecutive weeks, fourteen of those at number one. It was also the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book of the Year Award for Nonfiction.
“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 Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna 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.”
Walden Media Chief Executive Officer, Michael Bostick echoed their sentiment and said,
“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.”
Unbroken will mark Jolie’s second time as director and producer following her critically acclaimed directorial debut in 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey, and her first time directing a major studio film.
“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.”
Unbroken is being co-financed and co-produced by Universal and Walden Media. There is no word yet on who is expected to star in the adaptation or a projected release date.