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This is what Angelina Jolie does when she's nervous

Angelina Jolie really, really, really wanted to direct Unbroken, the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 bestseller. It’s the true story of Louie Zamperini, the son of Italian immigrants who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and fought in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, when his plane went down over the Pacific. He survived the crash and spent 37 days adrift on a raft before Japanese troops took him to a POW camp. There, he endured more than two years of near-relentless brutality. He survived that too, and went on both to forgive his captors and to run in the torch ceremony at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan (not far from where he was kept prisoner)—a few days before he turned 81.

Jolie was deeply moved by his story.  “It was such a strong reaction: ‘I don’t want to just make a movie—I want to evolve as a human being. I need and want to be near this man,'” the Oscar winner tells EW.

But when Jolie was up for the job, she wasn’t a shoo-in. “I had to pitch really hard,” she says. “I was on fire. There was no stopping me. I was completely insane.” READ FULL STORY

Angelina Jolie is not giving up acting: 'I have a few more roles in me'

The Internet shuddered worldwide today due to reports that Angelina Jolie would be quitting acting. And while it’s true that the busy mother of six, humanitarian, and director of the upcoming Unbroken plans to spend more time behind the camera than in front of it, she’s not quite done yet. “I see myself moving into directing more and doing much less as an actor,” Jolie tells EW. “I have a few more in me, ones I have been developing for some time, so I will do those before I step away.”

One of those will be in next year’s By the Sea, a film Jolie wrote, directed and starred in alongside new husband Brad Pitt. “It was a new experience as I had to direct myself and Brad in very dramatic and emotional scenes,” she says of the relationship drama set in 1970s France. But it was also a great joy to be back on set with him after ten years.” The couple first paired up in 2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. “[By the Sea] is a very different film than our first. It’s heavy. We really had to help each other. And we did.”

For more on Angelina Jolie and Unbroken, pick up next week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Nov. 25 .

Video: A champion becomes a survivor in new 'Unbroken' trailer


This is almost three biopics in one: the story of a racing champion, the story of a man lost at sea, and the story of a survivor in an internment camp.

But while it might seem incredible, Unbroken‘s all based on the story of one man: Louis “Louie” Zamperini, who survived it all until he died last week at 97. Played by Jack O’Connell, and as directed by Angelina Jolie, Zamperini’s story is the subject of Unbroken, which hits theaters on Christmas Day.


Angelina Jolie debuts 'Unbroken' footage at CinemaCon

When prestige is what you’re going for, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one of the most famous women in the world as your centerpiece. And so onto the stage strode Angelina Jolie, stunning in white, to introduce her second directorial effort, the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, to an audience of theater owners at Tuesday’s CinemaCon.

According to Universal Pictures chairwoman Donna Langley, it was Jolie’s chase of Olympian and POW Louis Zamperini’s story that pushed this project — originally developed by the studio in 1957 as a starring vehicle for Tony Curtis — to the big screen. Called “a force of nature” by Langley, Jolie took center stage to tell the story of Zamperini, a running star in the 1936 Olympics, who was shot down in a B-24 over a Japanese island and taken prisoner along with his survivors.

Jack O’Connell is playing Zamperini in a film shot by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins and scored by Oscar-nominated composer Alexandre Desplat.


Casting Net: Kristen Stewart in talks for a sci-fi love story; Plus, Will Smith, more

• Felicity Jones may have helped put director Drake Doremus on the map with her affecting performance in his lovely indie Like Crazy, and then again in Breathe In, but Doremus is eying a new heroine for his next project: Kristen Stewart. The director is reportedly courting the Twilight star and Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) for Equals, a science fiction love story. Moon scribe Nathan Parker wrote the script. [Deadline]


Angelina Jolie poses with 'Unbroken's true star, Louie Zamperini -- PHOTO

Hollywood has been trying to bring Louie Zamperini’s amazing true story to the screen for more than 50 years. At one point in the 1960s, Universal had Tony Curtis lined up to play the one-time Olympic runner and heroic World War II airman who was shot down over the Pacific and somehow survived sharks, starvation, and a brutal Japanese POW camp.

Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling 2010 book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, revitalized interest in a movie about him, and Angelina Jolie landed the project as her next directorial effort. Zamperini was a champion distance runner who competed at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. He enlisted in the Army Air Force before Pearl Harbor and was flying missions in the Pacific when his plane crashed in 1942, killing eight of the 11 men aboard. The three survivors floated for days on a life raft, and two of them eventually were captured by the Japanese, who imprisoned them until the end of the war. After the war, Zamperini became a Christian inspirational speaker who met and forgave many of the Japanese guards who had abused him during his incarceration.

Now 96, Zamperini has become close friends with Jolie, his neighbor in the Hollywood Hills. “It will be hard to make a film worthy of this great man,” says Jolie, in a statement. “I am deeply honored to have the chance and will do all I can to bring Louie’s inspiring story to life. … 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.”

Click below to watch Zamperini’s 2012 appearance on the Tonight Show. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Garrett Hedlund joins Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken'; Plus, Bryan Cranston, more

 Tron: Legacy star Garrett Hedlund is set to time travel to World War II for Universal’s adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, about Olympian and prisoner of war Lou Zamperini and his incredible story of survival. Angelina Jolie is directing the adaptation, which stars Jack O’Connell in the lead role. Hedlund will play a fellow POW in the Japanese camp where Zamperini ends up after surviving on a raft in the Pacific for 28 days. Joel and Ethan Coen, who directed Hedlund in Inside Llewyn Davis, are the latest writers tasked with revising the script which has also passed by the desks of William Nicholson (Gladiator) and Richard LaGravenese (Behind the Candelabra). Unbroken will hit theaters on Dec. 25, 2014. [Variety]


Casting Net: Elizabeth Olsen for 'Avengers: Age of Ultron'?; Plus, Bradley Cooper in talks to voice Rocket Raccoon, more

• Elizabeth Olsen is reportedly in talks to play Wanda Maximoff (also known as the Scarlet Witch) in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron. The Marvel character is the offspring of Magneto (an X-Men character and Fox property) and boasts the ability to reshape reality and alter probabilities. Olsen broke out in the independent world with her role in Martha Marcy May Marlene, but it seems like she has broader, more mainstream plans — she recently wrapped Godzilla and will be appearing in Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake. [Bleeding Cool]

Casting Net: Halle Berry boards indie comedy; Plus, Angelina Jolie casts lead for 'Unbroken', more

• Halle Berry has decided to stay small for her next project. The Oscar winner (for Monster’s Ball) will take on the independent comedy Mother, about a woman who escapes life with a mobster by pretending to be the mother of a young guy she meets on the run. Emilio Ferrari (I Know What You Did Last Winter) is directing the project. According to the report, the film will be tonally similar to How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Berry most recently starred in the modest thriller The Call, and is currently filming X-Men: Days of Future Past where she’s reprising her role as Storm. [Variety]


Angelina Jolie teams up with the Coen brothers

Joel and Ethan Coen have signed on to work on Angelina Jolie’s next project, EW confirmed Monday. The Oscar-winning screenwriters (Adapted for No Country For Old Men, and Original for Fargo), have agreed to rewrite the script for a film about Lou Zamperini, a former Olympian who was captured by the Japanese Navy while serving as an Air Force pilot in World War II. Jolie will direct.

The script will be based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling 2010 novel Unbroken, but the idea of a Zamperini project has been in the works for decades, with versions by screenwriters such as William Nicholson (Gladiator) and Richard LaGravanese (The Bridges of Madison County). After Zamperini’s B-24 crashed in the Pacific, he and two crew mates (one died at sea) survived on a tiny raft for 47 days, only to be taken prisoner and held in a Japanese internment camp for two and a half years. Assumed to be dead, Zamperini received a hero’s welcome upon his return to the United States and later returned to Japan to carry the Olympic torch at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, not far from where he had been imprisoned during WWII.

This will be Jolie’s first narrative feature since In The Land of Blood And Honey, her directorial debut. The Coen brothers, meanwhile, are best known for their success writing and directing their own projects – though they have written scripts for other directors, including Michael Hoffman’s Gambit, with Alan Rickman and Cameron Diaz, which should be released in the United States sometime in 2013. Regardless, this is an interesting, high-profile partnership on a story that seems to have awards potential written all over it.

Follow @ldbahr

Read More:
EW Review: ‘Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption’
EW Review: ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’

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