The True Story Behind Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’

Angelina Jolie, no stranger to directing films about war, says she fought for the chance to direct the World War II story “Unbroken” — based on a book similarly titled.

Jolie said in a written announcement:

“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.”

Hillenbrand’s 2010 non-fiction “Unbroken” has spent quite a few weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, says Yahoo Movies.

“Unbroken” follows the story of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, who became a prisoner of war in WWII after surviving a plane crash and floating on a raft for 47 days, only to be captured by the Japanese.

Jolie added:

“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.”

Jolie campaigned passionately against other directors for the film, according to Deadline.

The following are amazing facts about Zamperini from Yahoo Movies:

– Zamperini at 19 years of age qualified for the Olympics in track and field after racing 5,000 meters for the second time ever.

– Zamperini stole Hitler’s personal Nazi flag, an item he has to this day.

– In 1940, Zamperini‘s dreams of winning a gold medal ended when the Olympics were canceled for World War II.

– Zamperini joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941, later flying several harrowing missions over the Pacific.

– In the summer of 1943, Zamperini was the only one of an eleven-man crew to ultimately survive an attack on their B-24 over the ocean.

Louis Zamperini Olympic athlete

– Initially, Zamperini and two other crew members survived on a raft for days, collecting rain water to drink as well as the blood of the birds they would kill with their bare hands. Sharks circled and brushed up against their raft. One crew member died after 33 days. The other two survived 47 days.

– They drifted thousands of miles to the Marshall Islands, where they were taken as prisoners by the Japanese.

– Zamperini became a prisoner of war, undergoing constant torture and starvation for two years.

– Zamperini returned home to his family after the war in 1945 and married a Miami woman, Cynthia Applewhite, a year later.

– Afterward, Zamperini battled depression and alcoholism and eventually overcame them as well.

Now there is an old man with some stories to tell, and Angelina Jolie knew it.