Thursday, December 4, 2014






Read Angelina Jolie’s Moving Reflection on Showing Unbroken to Louie Zamperini Before His Death

Though Louie Zamperini, whose survival story is documented in Angelina Jolie’s new film Unbroken, died earlier this year, he did get to watch the film before his death. It was a moment that Jolie poignantly recalled at a press event today.


Universal hosted a luncheon today at the the Metropolitan Club in Midtown Manhattan to celebrate Unbroken, director Angelina Jolie’s harrowing retelling of the story of W.W. II hero Louie Zamperini. Zamperini, a bombardier in the Pacific theater, survived a plane crash and nearly two grueling months stranded at sea, only to be captured by the Japanese and held in a P.O.W. camp for two and a half years. He passed away this past July, but Jolie, who became close with Zamperini while making the film, did have a chance to show him the finished product, a moment that she captured rather poignantly during a Q&A today.
Louie was a part of the journey from the beginning. We’d call him sometimes and say “Does the raft look right,” or, “Did you or did you not have a screwdriver?” So he was always aware of it. But I hadn’t shown him the film. I was saving it. But I found out that he’d gone into the hospital, so I had it downloaded on my laptop and I drove to the hospital and held it over him, like this, so he could see it. And it’s hard to explain. How do you explain that moment? It wasn’t a judgment on a film and how well-acted or well-crafted it was. It was a man watching his life. It was a man at the end of his life, his extraordinary life—this mountain of a man, with his physical strength, at 97 years old . . . I had to help him a glass of water, his legs were very, very thin—watching himself run and win in the Olympics, watching his brother, watching his mother make gnocchi, watching all that he accomplished, all that he survived. And because he was a man of such strong faith, I think he was preparing himself, I know he was, preparing himself to die. And so he was also preparing himself to see his mother, and Phil, and Mac, and everybody. So it was hard to explain what it was. It was watching somebody relive all their experiences and prepare for that great, powerful, extraordinary, inspiring, long life to end.
Jolie was joined at the luncheon by members of the film’s cast, including star Jack O’Connell and Miyavi, the Japanese pop idol who makes a startling impression in the film as Zamperini’s chief antagonizer.


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