A promise Unbroken as Angelina returns http://t.co/og1erfAhtt
— The Australian (@australian) November 17, 2014
ANGELINA Jolie brought central Sydney to a standstill as she celebrated her latest film’s world premiere in the country where it was made.Fans began assembling on Market Street opposite the State Theatre five hours before Jolie’s appearance on the red carpet for the debut of her second film as a director, Unbroken.
Jolie arrived in a black Range Rover with husband Brad Pitt, who touched down late on Sunday in a private jet from Japan, where he was promoting his new film Fury. Dressed in a lace strapless gown, Jolie, 39, took selfies with her Australian fans.
Jolie adapted, with the help of the Coen brothers and Richard LaGravenese, the true-life tale of American Olympic athlete Louis Zamperini, who was stranded on a raft for 47 days during World War II.
The sweeping tale, in which Zamperini also endured torture while in a POW camp, was adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.
Last night’s premiere did not feature the usual list of celebrities. Instead, Jolie and Australian distributor Universal Pictures invited Australians who have demonstrated great resilience or achieved great things.
They included burns survivor Turia Pitt, founder of Youth Off The Streets Father Chris Riley, shark attack survivor Paul De Gelder, orphanage founder Geraldine Cox, Gabi Hollows and Afghanistan veteran Damien Thomlinson.
Jolie led her two young stars, Jack O’Connell, who plays Zamperini, and Miyavi, who plays Louis’s Japanese tormentor, “The Bird”. Australians in the cast include Jai Courtney, Alex Russell, Morgan Griffin and hundreds of extras. Jolie shot the movie across NSW and Queensland. Werris Creek in northern NSW doubled for Zamperini’s American childhood home. Sydney’s Fox Studios and Queensland’s Village Roadshow Studios were also used.
Jolie and Pitt are to star alongside each other in a romance, By the Sea, also to be directed by Jolie. The last time they appeared on screen together was in Mr and Mrs Smith, during which they fell in love. The couple relocated to Sydney and Queensland during filming, along with their six children, who also arrived in Australia on Sunday.
Aussie fans wild for Brangelina on red carpet http://t.co/7TjkiC7dvc
— Herald Sun (@theheraldsun) November 17, 2014
Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt Step Out for 'Unbroken' World Premiere in Sydney http://t.co/szKdc8p0gc
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) November 17, 2014
3:14 AM PST 11/17/2014 by Pip Bulbeck
Angelina Jolie was joined by husband Brad Pitt at the world premiere of her sophomore feature as a director, the Louis Zamperini biopic Unbroken, at a traffic stopping event at Sydney’s historic State Theatre Monday night.
Jolie, who stunned in a strapless floor length black lace Gucci gown, and Pitt worked the Sydney street for half an hour before the films screening, taking innumerable selfies with thousands of fans who turned out to see the pair.
Unbroken stars Jack O’Connell, Japanese actor and musician Miyavi and producer Matt Baer, joined Jolie and Pitt at the black tie event as did Sydney natives and fellow Hollywood filmmakers George Miller, John Seale, Don McAlpine and Jan Chapman.
Jolie said she was thrilled to bring the premiere of the film, which is garnering Oscar buzz, back to Australia after shooting the film in Sydney and other locations around the country a year ago. But she admitted the scope and emotional intensity of the film was “an extraordinary challenge” for her as director.
Unbroken tells the story of Zamperini (O'Connell), an Olympic runner and WW2 veteran who was interred in a brutal Japanese prisoner of war camp after surviving 47 days stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a raft.
“I knew I was drawn to this story, but I didn’t realise how much I needed it and how much it would change my life. Louis made me think differently about life and how to survive things but as a director it was really difficult, an extraordinary challenge,” Jolie told THR.
“You are dealing with real history which is difficult but also pleasure because you get an education. But technically this film is very demanding. It has hundreds of visual effects, it has a shark attack, plane crashes, even the [Olympic] races," she said.
“I remember waking up one morning thinking how do I shoot a race, there’s a specific way a director does that and I’m not sure I’m ready so I had to sit up for days and try and learn. You have so much to learn, from the speed of the flash in the B24 bombers flying and I had to be the one to have the answer on it, so it was a great challenge," said Jolie.
After many years developing Unbroken, Jolie and producer Matt Baer were keen to communicate the message behind Zamperini's experiences. “We wanted to shed a light on a story like Louis to remind us all that there is a strength in each of us...that we can do anything.”
For his part Baer told THR Jolie was “a blessing and a dream for the project. She had a very clear vision from the start, we assembled an amazing team of actors, writers and cinematographer Roger Deakins. Angelina was the best thing that could have happened to Unbroken and my own journey in trying to get Louis Zamperini’s story told”.
"Angelina directed something that’s very in keeping with the spirit of Louis,” O’Connell added.
Unbroken is released in the U.S. on Dec. 25