NEW YORK CITY — Angelina Jolie says she never thought she’d make a movie “that included shark attacks and plane crashes” when she considered directing her next film.
But she was compelled to bring the heroic World War II-set story of Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini to the screen with Unbroken, opening Dec. 25.
“I came into this because I felt it was important story,” Jolie said, adding she was “drawn to the message” of the strength of the human spirit and Zamperini’s capacity for forgiveness.
Jolie spoke to a group of reporters Friday in New York about directing Unbroken, based on Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller of the same name.
British actor Jack O’Connell adopts a convincing American accent to play Zamperini, who, along with two other airmen, survived 47 days in a lifeboat in the Pacific after a plane crash, only to be picked up by the Japanese and sent to prisoner-of-war labour camps.
O’Connell, and Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock, who play the other two airmen, went on punishing, 800-calorie a day diets for weeks, dramatically seeming to waste away onscreen as their ordeal continues.
Gleeson dropped so many pounds his contact lenses no longer fit him.
“Domhnall lost so much weight, even his eyeballs changed shape,” O’Connell said.
“He dropped a contact lens size.”