Angelina Jolie Directing Movie “Unbroken” About Olympian/WWII POW Redeemed by Jesus

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

Actress Angelina Jolie, like other powerful stars in Hollywood, has begun directing her own movies. Surprisingly, her next project is about a Christian athlete, with a script penned by the notorious Coen brothers (Fargo, Raising Arizona and True Grit).

The movie, Unbroken, is based on writer Laura Hillenbrand’s biography of Louis Zamperini, the Depression-era Olympic track athlete turned World War II hero turned follower of Jesus Christ via a Billy Graham crusade turned internationally renowned inspirational speaker. Talk about a cinema-worthy story arc.

Born the son of Italian immigrants in 1917, Zamperini was a smoker by age 5, a school bully by third grade and a menace to society by high school. Thankfully, Zamperini was encouraged to put his talents toward more productive pursuits, such as running track. Successful in the sport and eventually known as “the tornado from Torrance,” Zamperini was invited to train for the 1936 Olympics and eventually enrolled at the University of Southern California on a scholarship.

At the 1936 Olympics in Nazi-ridden Berlin, Zamperini’s most notorious fan was Adolf Hitler. After his disappointing placement in the 1936 games, Zamperini hoped to requalify for the Olympic team in 1940, but the games were canceled due to the outbreak of World War II.

A bombardier in WWII, Zamperini’s aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean. He and one other survivor spent 47 days at sea in a life raft, drifting some 2,000 miles, only to be picked up by a Japanese war ship. The Japanese put Zamperini and his companion into their horrific prison camps, where he was tortured beyond depiction for two years. He was made a special object of cruelty by the infamous Japanese torturer known as “The Bird.”

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