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 war veteran Louis Zamperini who survived a plane crash during the war and clung to life on a raft for 47 days. He was captured by the Japanese and sentenced to time in a prisoner of war camp.
Hillenbrand’s book spent 108 on the New York Times bestseller 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 Chief Executive Officer, 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 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.”
The latest draft of the script was written by William Nicholson (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Gladiator, Les Misérables), 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.