Promo Shot For Angelina Jolie's Film 'Unbroken' Shows The Film's WWII Veteran Inspiration

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."

In a press release that went out with the photo, Jolie said,

It will be hard to make a film worthy of this great man.  I am deeply honored to have the chance and will do all I can to bring Louie's inspiring story to life.  Everyone involved in the film shares this deep responsibility.  Like all readers of Laura's book and all people who love and admire Louie, I am a fan who has learned so much.  He has made me a better person.

For his part, Zamperini offered,

Angelina is a human dynamo, and I know she will tell this story in the right way.  I've received so many letters and talked to so many people who say that Laura's book has helped them when they were going through hard times.  I believe the movie will reach even more people with that message.

Garrett Hedlund also plays a role in the film,  Roger Deakins is shooting the film, and Joel and Ethan Coen did some work on the script; William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese previously wrote drafts. Unbroken opens on Christmas Day, 2014.