Angelina Jolie covers Vanity Fair ahead of 'Unbroken' unveiling http://t.co/b0Yj6F3P3j
— LAT Entertainment (@latimesent) November 4, 2014
The December issue of Vanity Fair finds Angelina Jolie in a familiar place: right on the magazine's coveted cover, which she graces for her fifth time. At the same time, though, the 39-year-old actress, filmmaker and humanitarian is on the precipice of what could be a decisive career moment.
On Christmas Day, Universal Pictures will release "Unbroken," Jolie's highly anticipated biopic about the late Olympic runner turned World War II hero Louis Zamperini, who died in July.
The film is Jolie's second as a director, after the independent 2011 Bosnian war drama "In the Land of Blood and Honey," and marks her first outing behind the camera of a studio picture rather than in front of it.
Starring the relatively unknown British actor Jack O'Connell as Zamperini, "Unbroken" has been pegged as a potential Oscar contender but remains something of a question mark, as it hasn't screened on the fall festival circuit.
As the film approaches its unveiling, though, moviegoers can expect the publicity machine to begin ramping up, as Jolie's Vanity Fair appearance underscores: It's worth noting that her last VF cover was in October 2011, not long before the release of "Blood and Honey."
Although she doesn't star in "Unbroken," Jolie is nonetheless one of the film's biggest selling points, along with Zamperini's inspiring true story and what could prove to be a breakout performance from O'Connell. For Jolie and Universal, the biggest marketing challenge may be leveraging her mega-stardom without allowing it to overshadow the film itself.
For now, readers can check out a preview of the Vanity Fair cover story, in which Jolie talks about her relationship with Zamperini, including being at his bedside during some of the last days of his life and showing him an early cut of the film.
"It was an extremely moving experience," Jolie told the magazine, "to watch someone watching their own life ... someone so physically strong ... and they are at the stage where their body is giving up."
At one point, Jolie said, Zamperini seemed to be failing but then regathered himself: "[The doctors] said he was training to breathe on his own. And that's what he always told me -- you train, you fight harder than those other guys, and you win. You can take it. You maThe December issue of Vanity Fair will be available digitally on Thursday and on newsstands Nov. 11.
Meanwhile, Fox News talking about whether Angelina Jolie will run for office.— Leigh Munsil (@leighmunsil) November 4, 2014
Things We've Learned About Angelina Jolie's 'Unbroken' http://t.co/GGWNLTL4WY
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) November 4, 2014
By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! November 4, 2014 at 2:57PM
Angelina Jolie opens up about her buzzy Louis Zamperini biopic 'Unbroken,' while revealing that she's not ruling out a possible political run someday.
"Unbroken" is Angelina Jolie's third outing as a director, a chronicle of the life of Italian American Louis Zamperini (British Indie Film Award nominee Jack O'Connell), an Olympic runner and WWII airman turned war hero who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces.
In a new Vanity Fair cover story, Angelina Jolie offers the first extensive look at the making of "Unbroken," during which she became close with Zamperini, who was able to see a cut of the film before he passed away in July 2014 at the age of 97.
"It was an extremely moving experience to watch someone watching their own life... someone so physically strong" Jolie says. "And they are at the stage where their body is giving up...yet we laughed together, and talked about his mom. And being a man of such faith, he talked about all the people he believed he would be seeing on the other side. And that it would bring him peace. After a life of fighting, he could rest."
While a few Oscar predictors see Academy hopes in the film's future, we won't call it until we've seen it. Which we haven't because "Unbroken" has evaded the festival circuit. (The film opens December 25, rivaling Ava DuVernay's buzzed MLK biopic "Selma.") "Unbroken" does show early potential to dominate the crafts awards, with naturalism maestro Roger Deakins and composer Alexandre Desplat aboard. The Coen Brothers, William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese all had hands in the script, adapting the book by Lauren Hillenbrand.
Though she did enjoy the smash success "Maleficent" this year — breaking down a lot of barriers for women at the box office — Jolie appears to be favoring directing over acting. Yet the politically active actress also remains open to the idea of running for office: "When you work as a humanitarian, you are conscious that politics have to be considered...I am conscious of what I do for a living," she tells Vanity Fair. When asked if she sees herself as a politician: "I am open."
Watch the "Unbroken" trailer here. The full Vanity Fair issue arrives digitally tomorrow and on newsstands November 11.