Angelina Jolie directing Unbroken

Our first look at Angelina Jolie‘s sophomore directorial effort Unbroken wasn’t really a first look at the film, but a lovely photo of her with its real-life subject Louis Zamperini. But now that production is actually underway, Universal has some more movie-centric pics to offer.

The latest set photos from the survival epic show Jolie on the watery Australian set with her cast and crew, including stars Jack O’Connell, Domnhall Gleeson, and Finn Wittrock. They seem to be hard at work, though of course nothing they’re going through could possibly compare to the tribulations Zamperini and his comrades endured. Hit the jump to get a peek.

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When is a first look at a film not actually a first look at the movie? In this case, it’s when Universal sends out a shot (above) of Angelina Jolie with Louis “Louie” Zamperini, who is the subject of her new directorial effort, Unbroken. But in this case it’s a good call, because Zamperini is a war hero, and deserves his place in the spotlight.

The story is one Universal first thought about making in the late ’50s; this telling is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s much more recent book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and RedemptionJack O’Connell will play Louis Zamperini, an Olympian in 1936 and a pilot in WWII. In 1943, his plane crashed in the Pacific, and “he survived without food and water for 47 days, enduring shark attacks, aerial attacks and hunger before washing ashore on a Japanese island behind enemy lines, where he was held as a prisoner of war for two years and tortured by his captors.” Read More »

Garrett Hedlund Joins Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’

Garrett Hedlund

Briefly: Angelina Jolie has impressive talent working with her behind the camera for her second directorial effort, Unbroken. Roger Deakins is shooting the film, and Joel and Ethan Coen are doing a pass on the script that also bears work from William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese.

The film is based on the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. It tells the story of Lou Zamperini, an Olympian in 1936 and a pilot in WWII. In 1943, his plane crashed in the Pacific, and “he survived without food and water for 47 days, enduring shark attacks, aerial attacks and hunger before washing ashore on a Japanese island behind enemy lines, where he was held as a prisoner of war for two years and tortured by his captors.”

Jack O’Connell (Skins) plays Zemperini, and now Garrett Hedlund, who was hoping to play the central figure himself, has signed on to play another role. We don’t have details on the part he’ll play, but with Deakins and the Coens adding their skills, it might not matter. [Variety]

 

 

Maleficent

The basic premise of Disney’s Maleficent has been clear from the get-go: It is, as Disney’s fond of saying, the “untold story” of the famous Sleeping Beauty villain. But thanks to D23, we now have a clearer idea of what exactly that entails.

New plot details were disclosed at the event, along with the very first bit of footage from the fairy tale film. Hit the jump to find out what we learned.

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Kung Fu Panda

Po will be making a few more famous friends (or foes?) in Kung Fu Panda 3. Bryan Cranston, Mads Mikkelsen, and Rebel Wilson have just boarded the animated sequel, joining returning stars Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, and Seth Rogen.

In addition, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who directed Kung Fu Panda 2, is back at at the helm, and Guillermo del Toro will once again serve as executive producer. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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When Angelina Jolie signed on last year to replace Francis Lawrence at the helm of Unbroken, she became the latest in a long line of filmmakers who’ve tried to bring the Lou Zamperini tale to the big screen. And I mean long: Universal has been attempting to make a biopic of the Olympic track star turned World War II Air Force officer for over five decades now, to no avail.

But if Jolie has one advantage over those who came before her, it’s that she’s just brought on some very strong talent behind the scenes. Joel and Ethan Coen have just been tapped to rewrite the script, after a thorough search by Jolie and Universal. Hit the jump to keep reading.

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When Life of Pi landed in Ang Lee‘s lap in 2009, it had already run through several directors including M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. But as we now know, he managed to turn the tricky source material into a gorgeous, moving adventure. As he eyes his next move, he’s looking to board another project that’s been attached to several high-profile names.

At the Palm Springs International Film Festival Gala, Lee expressed his interest in taking over the historical epic Cleopatra. Angelina Jolie‘s been attached to play the lead since 2010, but the film’s had significantly more trouble hanging onto a director. Last summer, David Fincher became the latest filmmaker to drop the picture. More details after the jump.

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After cutting her teeth on last year’s In the Land of Blood and Honey, Angelina Jolie has picked up a second directing gig in Unbroken. The biopic centers around Louis Zamperini, an Olympic track star turned U.S. Air Force officer. After his plane crashed over the Pacific during World War II, he survived for 47 days on a raft — only to get captured by Japanese forces once he reached land. He spent the rest of the war in a POW camp, suffering torture at the hands of sadistic guards.

While the project’s development hasn’t been quite that epic, it’s got a meaty history as well. Universal has been trying to bring Zamperini’s tale to the big screen for five and a half decades, or longer than the 37-year-old Jolie has been alive. Last we heard of it, Francis Lawrence was attached to direct in 2011. More details after the jump.

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