Angelina Jolie at the 84th annual Academy Awards. ( Al Seib )
Angelina Jolie is in talks to direct her first studio movie, "Unbroken," for Universal Pictures and Walden Media, Universal said Tuesday.
Based on the bestselling book by Laura Hillenbrand ("Seabiscuit"), "Unbroken" centers on 1936 Olympian Louis Zamperini, who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in World War II, only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.
Published in 2010, the book sat atop the New York Times bestseller list for 108 weeks. It won the Los Angeles Times book of the year award for nonfiction.
The project marks Jolie's second directorial effort. She tackled the politically fraught indie "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a love story set against the backdrop of the Bosnian war, last year.
"In her life and in her work, Angelina has embraced stories and causes involving great struggle and triumph over tremendous odds and the basic human condition," said Universal Chairman Adam Fogelson and co-Chairman Donna Langley. “She has a real ability to illustrate the strength in human spirit which will be essential in telling Lou’s story of survival and great heroism.”
According to press reports, Jolie, who has served as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, had to fight against several other directors for the job.
"I read Laura Hillenbrand's brilliant book, and I was so moved by Louie Zamperini's heroic story, I immediately began to fight for the opportunity to make this film," she said in a statement.
"Les Miserables" screenwriter William Nicholson ("Gladiator") wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay.
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