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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 »

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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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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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Currently number two on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Best Seller list, Laura Hillenbrand‘s Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption has been purchased by Universal Pictures as a potential directing gig for Francis Lawrence. The book centers on the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who endured terrible trials as a prisoner of war during World War II. They’re hoping that Scott Cooper, who wrote Crazy Heart, will adapt the script. Read more about Zamperini’s story, as well as the half-century tale of this film’s path to the big screen, after the jump. Read More »

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