Angelina Jolie’s second directorial effort, Unbroken, was released on Christmas Day to wide acclaim and box office success. Christmas Day has long been popular for movie releases, often proving to be the most profitable week of the year. Jolie’s film about World War II hero Louis Zamperini brought in $15.59 million at the domestic box offices.
Jolie directed an adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s book of the same name about the horrors survived by Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who went on to become a bombardier (bombing crew member who sites and releases bombs) who was shot down and sent to a Japanese POW camp after spending 47 days adrift at sea.
Angelina Jolie worked with Zamperini while developing the final version of the movie. Shortly before he passed away, Jolie told NPR that she was able to bring her nearly finished film and show it to him in the hospital.
“… I brought it to the hospital and I held it over his bed and we watched it… And what happened was I had the extraordinary honor of watching this beautiful man, watching his bright blue eyes as he watched his life and remembered his family and remembered his friends who had passed and was preparing emotionally to pass away and be with them again. And so it was a beautiful, beautiful experience.”
As noted in an Inquisitr article, Angelina Jolie became very emotionally invested in the film, and considered the war hero a friend whose story she was honored to tell. Jolie’s directorial efforts have taken a very different direction from many of the films she has acted in. Jolie’s directorial debut, In the Land of Blood and Honey, delved into another great divide: the Bosnian War of the 1990s. She struggled to understand how friends and lovers could become bitter enemies in a conflict half a world away, fought while she was a teenager.
Jolie found Zamperini’s story to be nearly the opposite of the Bosnian conflict and more applicable to the current state of affairs in the world. She found inspiration in the story of how Zamperini remained “unbroken” despite the trials he endured. With the current number of refugees and displaced peoples greatly outnumbering the those from the WWII era, Angelina Jolie believes that the world needs to hear the story of the man whose spirit and fortitude pulled him through unimaginably dark days, brought him home, helped to give him a very long and full life, and made him an inspiration for millions. Louis Zamperini passed away this summer at the age of 97, a few days after watching her version of his story on Jolie’s laptop, and about six months before Angelina Jolie’s film was officially released.