Casting Call: Unbroken

Emma Brown

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.


Angelina Jolie has announced her second project as a director, a biopic of Olympian and WWII prisoner of war Louis Zamperini. William Nicholson, co-screenwriter of Les Misérables, is set to revamp the script based on Laura Hillenbrand's book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.

There's plenty of material for a harrowing, yet inspiring drama in Zamperini's life story. Born in 1917 in New York, Zamperini moved to California when he was two years old with his Italian-immigrant parents and older brother. Zamperini became a track star in high school, was awarded a scholarship to USC, and qualified for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Zamperini did not win any medals in Berlin—he came eighth in the 5000-meter run—but he did meet Hitler, who asked to be introduced to Zamperini after his race.

When the US joined WWII, Zamperini joined the Air Force, his plane malfunctioned and crashed into the Pacific Ocean, and he spent 47 days floating with two other survivors from his plane—and then, as if that wasn't bad enough, he was captured by the Japanese. He remained in an unlisted Japanese prisoner of war until the end of the war in Japan in August of 1945. Now 95, Zamperini is still alive today and appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last June. "Crikey!" seems like the only appropriate reaction.

According to Deadline Hollywood, Zamperini's story has been "in development" at Universal for the past 55 years, so we might not hold our breath, but here's who we think Jolie should cast...


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November 2014

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