Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken Finally Adapted into Film

The best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken, is to be made into a film after nearly sixty years of consideration. The book tells the story of Louis Zamperini, a bombardier from the Second World War who survived starvation, sharks, gunfire, and torture over the course of a little more than two years. The original idea considered so many years ago was actually based on Zamperini’s own book, Devil at My Heels, but Laura Hillenbrand’s take is the one to be adapted. Unbroken will be directed by Angelina Jolie.

Jolie’s last film, In the Land of Blood and Honey, was also set around a war. Written by Angelina Jolie herself, In the Land of Blood and Honey was mostly well-received and won at least two awards. Unbroken, with a script penned by the Coen brothers and a best-selling true story as its basis, may perform even better.

The story of Zamperini, a runner in the Olympics, is one of inspiration as well as some action. One of the first obstacles to Zamperini’s survival was the crash of the Green Hornet, the B-24 he was in during WWII. This leads to one of the more suspenseful portions of Unbroken, in which Zamperini and his crew find themselves stranded on life rafts for days, suffering from malnutrition and sun exposure. They eventually find themselves trapped in between sharks underneath and firing Japanese planes overhead, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The harrowing tale has been considered for adaptation for quite some time, and Jolie is working with Matthew Baer, a producer who has been particularly interested in the project for over a decade. His interest in Unbroken seemed sensible enough for any movie producer considering the amount of suspense and inspiration present in Zamperini’s story. After surviving the Japanese gunfire, Zamperini became a POW yet never gave up hope. Apparently Baer never gave up hope on Zamperini, as he has not made a single film since deciding to produce the adaptation eleven years ago.

The title Unbroken applies to many aspects of Zamperini’s life. From his days on the life raft, when he and the other two survivors of the crash had no idea if they would survive, to his days undergoing torture at the Japanese POW camp, and even after the war when Zamperini battled with alcohol addiction. Now, Unbroken has a title that applies to its own making, as Baer’s hopes have finally given way to a film as resilient as Louis Zamperini himself.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE