Unbroken has passed through many hands since the spark of turning it into a movie first lit up. The film adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s nonfiction book — previously operating under the direction of Catching Fire‘s Francis Lawrence, with script drafts by William Nicholson (Les Miserables) and Richard LaGravenese (Beautiful Creatures) — now rests with helmer Angelina Jolie, making this her second directorial feature, after 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey. Still yet to prove herself as a filmmaker of unquestionable merit (Blood and Honey had some interesting things to say, but faltered a good deal in the delivery), Jolie will benefit from a time-tested writing team to make Unbroken a successful venture… and she hit the motherload: the Coen Brothers are taking charge on the script for the World War II picture.
The story revolves around Lou Zamperini, a solider in the American Air Force whose plane crashed into the Pacific in 1943, where he survived on his own for 47 days before being captured and held prisoner by the Japanese military. Prior to joining the Air Force, Zamperini was an Olympic runner who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Joel and Ethan Coen have a penchant for the quirky and the stylistic — a different ambiance, perhaps, than that which Universal might have had for the movie in the first place, but it’s not as though they can’t handle gravity. The brothers’ flare for the cinematic teamed with the earnest passion exhibited in Jolie’s Blood and Honey could meld well, resulting in a tasteful and artistic retelling of this intriguing story.
But while Zamperini’s account might warrant a stern and stoic voice, we can imagine a few other Coen/Jolie projects that would turn out a bit more fun. How about the writing pair’s take on Jolie’s Lara Croft franchse: Burn After Raiding? Maybe the two should tackle a remake of the actress’ drama Changeling, this time from the son’s perspective: O Mother, Where Art Thou? Or maybe — just maybe — a movie about a rogue CIA agent who’s just trying to make it big as a Hollywood writer: Salton Fink!
Hey, all these have got to be better than The Tourist.
[Photo Credit: Apega/Wenn; Stefano Paltera/AP Photo]