Angelina Jolie's UNBROKEN is Certainly Not Broken (Perhaps Slightly Bent)

December 16, 2014 10:04 PM

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After the premiere screening of UNBROKEN, the new film from Universal Pictures directed by actress- turned-director Angelina Jolie, I had a chance for a brief talk with her at the Wallis Theatre in Beverly Hills. We discussed Louis Zamperini, the indomitable man whose life provided the basis for the book and film. I mentioned that I had dinner with Louis at his favorite restaurant two years ago, before he died. She laughed and said, "The Louis Zamperini Room at EL CHOLO, he loved that place. " I then astonished her with the news that Louis had been the babysitter for Ron Salisbury, the owner of El Cholo, in the '30s when both were kids. I told her that Ron had given me a copy of Laura Hillenbrand's book, Unbroken, and when I read it I told him that I thought it was almost impossible to film...the scope was too great, from an unruly childhood in Torrance, California to blinding speed in winning a 5,000 meter race at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, from being a U.S. Army Air Force bombardier in World War II to crashlanding, spending 47 days floating 2,000 miles on a raft in the Pacific (think leaping sharks). Then the startling story goes into the brutal saga of the two and a half years he spent in Japanese prison camps. I shook my head at Jolie in admiration and told her that, as a long-time film producer, I must give producer Matt Baer and her a huge 'bravo' for licking the story in such an admirable way.

It was filmed mainly in Australia on a very tight budget and schedule. I have known Matt for a long time and knew that for 17 years he has been striving to make this film, even before there was the book. I was officed at Universal doing my W.C. Fields & Me movie and remembered hearing that Tony Curt...

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