Angelina Jolie wanted to make sure the subject of her next film got to see it before he died http://t.co/PiPF26Q8nS pic.twitter.com/fmPyR4swlo
— Page Six (@PageSix) December 4, 2014
Angelina Jolie was on a mission: She wanted to make sure the subject of her next film got to see it before he died.
Jolie rushed to Louis Zamperini’s deathbed earlier this year so she could show him her upcoming film, “Unbroken,” she revealed at a lavish Metropolitan Club luncheon on Tuesday afternoon.
“I downloaded the movie on my laptop and showed it to him at the hospital,” Jolie, dressed in a gray blazer and matching skirt with a white blouse, said at the advance screening of the film.
“He was watching his life,” she said. “[He was] reliving all the experiences, preparing for that long, extraordinary life to end.”
Zamperini, a native of Olean in western New York, died in LA on July 2.
Dozens of celebrities, including Dr. Oz and journalist Bob Woodruff, listened to the film’s cast discuss what it was like to make the Oscar-contending movie about such an inspirational man.
The Q&A, moderated by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, highlighted Jolie’s role as the movie’s director.
“As an actress trying to direct, you meet with [movie] studios and you get their list of ‘open directing assignments,’ ” she said. “You never think you’ll get these jobs.”
But the new Mrs. Pitt said a meeting with Universal Pictures boss Donna Langley changed everything. Langley gave her a copy of Zamperini’s book, which details his one-of-a-kind story. “Halfway through the book, I was so inspired,” Jolie said.
The 137-minute flick tells Zamperini’s life story, from running in the 1936 Berlin Olympics to fighting in World War II to his captivity in a Japanese POW camp.
He spent 47 days at sea after one of his missions directing aerial bombs went wrong, causing the plane to crash. Zamperini was later captured by Japanese forces.
His story of survival moved Jolie so much that she decided she wanted to dedicate years of her life “walking in his footsteps” to make the film.
“I believe in this man. I respect his legacy,” she said Tuesday.
“He was genuinely one of the greatest people — better than you can imagine. Understanding who he was and why he mattered is a huge responsibility.”
The movie, out Christmas Day, is Jolie’s second as director.