Universal Acquires Bestselling Book UNBROKEN as Directing Vehicle for Francis Lawrence

     January 4, 2011

francis-lawrence-unbroken-book-cover-slice

Universal Pictures has picked up the rights to Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling non-fiction novel Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.  According to Deadline, the studio is in talks with Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) to direct and Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper to pen the script.  Universal also produced the adaptation of Hillenbrand’s previous book, Seabiscuit, and picked up $148 million worldwide plus seven Oscar nominations as a result.

Unbroken centers on Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian whose plane crashed at sea during World War II.  Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, he was caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where he was specifically targeted by a sadistic overseer.  Hit the jump for the synopsis of the book.

unbroken-book-cover-01Here’s the synopsis for Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption:

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.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit. [Amazon]

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