World War II movie ‘Unbroken’ is all set to be directed by Angelina Jolie in Australia

World War II movie ‘Unbroken’ is all set to be directed by Angelina Jolie in Australia

Photo story (Clockwise from top left): (1) Angelina Jolie in Sydney with her children scouting locations for ‘Unbroken’ (2) Louis Zamperini in recent time (3) Zamperini’s track running days (4) A consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber during WWII (5) ABC soap opera ‘All my children’ star Finn Wittrock (6) Domhnall Gleeson casted as Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows (7) Tron-Legacy star Garrett Hedlund (8) ‘300-rise of an empire’ star Jack O’Connell to be casted as Zamperini in Unbroken (9) Louis Zamperini, Olympic track runner of 1936 Berlin Olympics

The major movie stars or the most marketable in the Hollywood film industry are entitled with the term A-list. The 39 years old Angelina Jolie, who is among this elite list, is all set to carry out her second assignment as a film director. The activist, actress and mother of six will be directing the movie ‘Unbroken’ based on American author Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling book ‘Unbroken- A WWII story of survival, resilience & redemption’ which is a biography of WWII hero Louis Zamperini (26th January 1917- present), an Italian-American former Olympic track runner and WWII prisoner of war survivor. The reports:

After directing the 2011 movie ‘In the land of Blood & Honey’, a romantic story set against the backdrop of the Bosnian war, the busy star-turned-director has been in Sydney with her children in recent weeks scouting locations for her sophomore directorial effort.

Andrew Stoner, New South Wales deputy premiere, said that the millions of dollars to be put into the state’s economy would create 300 jobs for crew and more for extras and cast. He said that the investment in the state demonstrated the world-class standards of their film industry.

Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction stayed on top of New York Times bestseller chart for more than 146 successive weeks and is one of the best selling non-fictions since the inception of the list in 1942. The movie ‘Unbroken’, based on the mentioned book, also reflects the incredible life of the Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini.

Zamperini tied with world record holder Don Lash to qualify for the 5000 meter race in 1936 Berlin Olympics. Neither Lash nor he had the chance of winning the Olympic medal. 19 year old Zamperini finished eighth in the Olympics but his 56 seconds final lap was the fastest and he caught Hitler’s attention. He said that Hitler shook his hand and said ‘Ah, you are the boy with fast finish’. A couple of years later, in 1938, Zamperini set and later held national record for 15 years that gave him the nick name ‘Torrance Tornado’.

Zamperini was enlisted and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Air forces in September, 1941. As a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator he was deployed to the Pacific Island Funafuti, Tuvalu. The aircraft was badly damaged in a combat in April 1942. Zamperini and the crew were then assigned to conduct a search and rescue for a lost plane and its crew. Another B-24 named ‘Green Hornet’ which was defective from the very beginning, a lemon aircraft, was given to them. While on search mission the plane faced mechanical errors and crashed into the ocean some 850 miles west of the Hawaiian island Oahu. The crash killed eight of the eleven soldiers aboard the plane.

The three survivors were Zamperini, pilot Allen Phillips and Francis McNamara had little food and no water with them. They endured on small captured fishes eaten raw, little rainwater and two captured albatrosses. The albatrosses were used to catch fishes as well. They were almost overturned by a storm and were repelling nonstop shark attacks. A Japanese bomber also strafed them multiple times and punctured their life rafts. After 38 days at sea McNamara died. After drifting for 47 days, Zamperini and Phillips reached Japanese held Marshall Islands and were immediately captured as Prisoners of War by the Japanese Navy. They suffered severe beating and ill-treatment until the end of war in August 1945.

Jack O’Connell (as Zamperini), Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund and Finn Wittrock would be featured in the film.

Mohammad Rafi Saad

Mohammad Rafi Saad is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE