Ethan and Joel Coen are teaming up with Angelina Jolie to tell the story of Word War II hero Lou Zamperini.
The Coen brothers have been tapped to rewrite Unbroken, the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s novel for Universal, which has been trying to mount a Zamperini story in some form or fashion for decades.
Universal picked up the rights to the book in January 2011, initially for Francis Lawrence to direct. Jolie boarded as director in December. She has spent weeks searching for top-flight writers to tackle the project with sources saying the director was extremely choosy.
William Nicholson and Richard LaGravanese worked on previous drafts pre-Jolie.
Zamperini was a high school track star who made an appearance in the 1936 Olympics. During World War II, he was part of the US Air Force and his plane crashed in the Pacific. He survived without food and water for 47 days, barely surviving shark attacks and hunger until washing up ashore on a Japanese island behind enemy lines where he was held as a prisoner of war for two years and tortured by his captors.
Jolie is producing with Erwin Stoff and Matthew Baer.
One of the top screenwriters in town, the Coens have been nominated five times for Academy Awards in the writing category, winning twice. The duo write and produce what they write but in rare exceptions the brothers take on assignments.
They are repped by UTA.