The Coen brothers are to work on the screenplay for Unbroken, a historical drama about American second world war hero Lou Zamperini that will be Angelina Jolie‘s next film as director, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Oscar-winning film-makers will rewrite an initial draft of the story, based on Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 novel Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.
Zamperini, a one-time Olympic track star, made headlines after surviving for 47 days without food or water when his US airforce plane crash-landed in the Pacific in 1943. Having endured shark attacks, aerial attacks and extreme hunger, he was eventually picked up by the Japanese after getting washed ashore on an island behind enemy lines. Zamperini’s captors imprisoned him for two years, during which time he was tortured. He survived the ordeal and is now 96.
Universal has been working on bringing Zamperini’s story to the big screen for a number of years. The studio picked up the rights to Hillenbrand’s book in 2011, with the aim of hiring Water for Elephants director Francis Lawrence. Jolie came on board in December and reportedly conducted a meticulous search for screenwriters to rework an existing draft by William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese.
She could have not have scored a more impressive coup than hiring the Coens, who have two Oscar screenwriting wins for No Country For Old Men and Fargo, and have been nominated five times. Unbroken follows Jolie’s directing debut, the controversial, harrowing 2011 Balkan conflict drama In the Land of Blood and Honey.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010