Jack O'Connell in Unbroken © Copyright 2014 Universal Studios
At long last, we have the official "Unbroken" trailer for the Angelina Jolie-directed movie adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling book, a compelling story of survival. Unbroken, which has been on the New York Times bestseller list for an astounding 175 weeks, follows the life of the recently deceased Olympian and World War II veteran Louis Zamperini.
Louis's early life was punctuated by a rebellion against those who sought to contain him and his natural running ability. One particularly colorful memory that Hillenbrand provides is an incident from 1919 when two-year-old pneumonia-ridden Louie climbed out of his second story window down to the street level to run around naked in public while being chased by the police. During boyhood, Louie was no angel; he engaged in many fights and broke into several homes among other delinquent behaviors.
Later, in his teen years, Louie began to discipline himself through running and cross-country training, eventually making it to the Berlin Olympics -- where he was the youngest distance runner to ever join the team. Louie would later become a lieutenant in World War II. In 1943, he crashed into the Pacific Ocean in an Army Air Force bomber, where he would remain stranded on a small raft for twenty-seven days -- until the enemy found him. His story of survival is no less than stunning.
For her latest directorial project, Ms. Jolie has certainly taken on a huge challenge. Releasing on Christmas Day 2014, "Unbroken" stars Jack O'Connell ("Skins") as Zamperini along with Alex Russell ("Carrie") as Zamperini's brother, Pete. Supporting actors include Domhnall Gleeson ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2") as Russell Allen Phillips, Jai Courtney ("Spartacus: Blood and Sand") as Hugh Cuppernell, and Garrett Hedlund ("On the Road") as John Fitzgerald. The screenplay, based on Hillenbrand's book, was drafted by Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson and Joel and Ethan Coen ("No Country for Old Men") edited the version used during production. Producers include Jolie herself, Matthew Baer ("City by the Sea"), Erwin Stoff ("The Day the Earth Stood Still"), and Clayton Townsend ("This Is 40") as well as Mick Garris, Steve Gaub, Joseph P. Reidy and Thomas Tull.
Zamperini's story exemplifies what it really means to persevere in the face of a daunting and terrifying challenge with no hope or end in sight. Expect Jolie's work to bring this vivid and powerful struggle to life on the big screen in a fantastically rendered adaptive work.