Joel and Ethan Coen to Rewrite UNBROKEN for Director Angelina Jolie

     February 25, 2013

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Angelina Jolie is heading to the top shelf for her next directorial effort.  Jolie signed on to helm Universal’s adaptation of author Laura Hillenbrand’s non-fiction bestseller Unbroken in December, and after a prolonged search to put a writer on the project, Jolie has roped in none other than Joel and Ethan Coen to rewrite the script.  The book tells the incredible true story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943.  Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer.

Hit the jump for more, including a full synopsis for the book.

unbroken-book-cover-01Per THR, Jolie was incredibly picky when it came to signing on a screenwriter, but I think it’s safe to say she made wise choice with the Coen brothers.  William Nicholson, Richard LaGravenese, and Scott Cooper previously penned drafts of the script before Jolie became involved, but one imagines the Coens will be starting from scratch.  Francis Lawrence (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) had been attached to take the helm of Unbroken for some time, but he moved on and Jolie subsequently chose the project as her directorial follow-up to In the Land of Blood and Honey.  I had high hopes for this one before based solely on the inspiring story and Jolie’s involvement, but the Coens handling the script takes this thing to another level.

Read the full synopsis for Unbroken below:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will. [Amazon]

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