After having waited for over half a century, Louis "Louie" Zamperini, the Torrance-native Olympian who raced before Adolf Hitler, survived a near-fatal plane crash and 47 days on a raft in open sea, and two years in Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, and found Christ at Billy Graham's evangelistic crusades, will finally get to see his life story brought to the big screens by director and Academy Award actress Angelina Jolie.
With an underlying theme of forgiveness, "Unbroken" film was previewed on Sunday night during NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympic Games. Narrated by Tom Brokaw, the preview blended film footage with actual interviews with the 96-year-old committed Christian.
Adapted from #1 New York Times best-selling author of "Seabiscuit" Laura Hillenbrand's, "Unbroken" is an epic dram that follows the survival and transformation story of Zamperini, played by Jack O'Connell.
Starring alongside O'Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac - the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific - Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow prisoner-of-wars who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment. Alex Russell as Zamperini's brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor and musician Miyavi as the brutal camp guard known only to the men as "The Bird."
Miyavi, who is also a musician, said after meeting with Jolie last year that he accepted to play "The Bird" because an underlying theme to this story, forgiveness, resonated with him because he also wants to express this message through music.
"I look forward to taking on this challenge whole-heartedly," he said.
Moreover, Jolie said last year after reading Hillenbrand's book she was so moved by Zamperini's heroic story that she fought for the opportunity to make this film. To bring to life the true account, the Forbes highest-paid actress said she spent much time with Zamperini, who she considers her "hero" and "a dear friend."
"I am deeply honored to be telling his extraordinary story, and I will do my absolute best to give him the film he deserves," she said. "Louie is a true hero and a man of immense humanity, faith and courage."
The film is produced by Jolie, as well as Matthew Baer (City by the Sea), Erwin Stoff (The Day the Earth Stood Still) and Clayton Townsend (This Is 40). Leading the accomplished behind-the-scenes crew is 10-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall).
Academy Award winners Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) rewrote the screenplay from earlier drafts by William Nicholson (Les Misérables) and Richard LaGravenese (HBO's Behind the Candelabra).
Unbroken arrives in theaters on Christmas Day, 2014.