After earning a Golden Globe nomination for her first film, the Bosnian war romance In the Land Of Blood and Honey, A-lister Angelina Jolie quickly emerged as one of Hollywood’s most fresh directorial talents. She’s currently hard at work filming another story set in wartime, an adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s acclaimed WWII biography Unbroken. Now, the first images from the film have emerged, depicting the shoot in Australia’s Moreton Bay.
At the outset of Unbroken, Olympic runner Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell, first on the left in the second image) survives a plane crash into the ocean while enlisted in the US military during World War II. Along with airmen Russell Allen Phillips (Domnhall Gleeson, pictured in the third image) and Francis McNamara (Finn Witrock, second from the left in the second image), Zamperini survives at sea for 47 days. Upon reaching shore, he’s promptly captured by the Japanese military and detained in a brutal POW camp for more than two years.
Jolie’s cast appears appropriately starved and miserable in the below images, but the director herself looks completely focused on bringing Zamperini’s extraordinary story to the big screen. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Jolie had this to say:
On set, we started to joke and say, ‘Tomorrow will be easier,’ knowing full well that on this challenging shoot, there are no easy days. Anytime it gets tough, we think of the real men who lived through this, and no one complains. In fact, we all just feel honored to be here.
In preparation for the shoot, Jolie spoke with a number of sources involved with Zamperini’s story, including the former POW himself, currently 96, and Hillenbrand. According to the biography, the A-lister’s devotion to maintaining the film’s historical accuracy has been awe-inspiring. Hillenbrand said:
She’s extremely bright and subtle-minded and absolutely devoted to getting it right. She wants every detail to be true. It’s easy to fudge things. It’s hard to be devoted to doing things right. She’s taking the hard path.
I’m very excited to see how Hillenbrand’s riveting book translates to the big screen, and a script rewrite from Joel and Ethan Coen gives me confidence that Unbroken could be a gripping, realistic portrayal of Zamperini’s harrowing ordeal.
Are you excited for the film? Is Jolie the right person to bring this fascinating story to the big screen? Sound off in the comments section.
Unbroken is scheduled open in theaters on December 25th, 2014.