Angelina Jolie’s next directorial effort continues to fill out its cast, and Tron: Legacy actor Garrett Hedlund is the latest to sign on. Based on the non-fiction book by Lauren Hillenbrand, Unbroken 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. Jack O’Connell (300: Rise of an Empire) landed the lead role of Zamperini, and now Variety reports that Hedlund—who has long been interested in the true story—has signed on to play fellow POW, Commander John Fitzgerald.
Joel and Ethan Coen wrote the most recent draft of the Unbroken screenplay, and Jolie has nabbed genius cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) to act as the film’s director of photography, so things are off to a great start. Filming begins next month in anticipation of a December 25, 2014 release. Hit the jump for a synopsis of the book.
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]