I don’t know if you’ve read my 2014 movie recommendations yet (what am I saying, of course you have), but one of the films that definitely should’ve made that list is Unbroken. But in addition to being one of the movies we’re most excited about this year, it’s also brought to light one of the oddest Hollywood coincidences I’ve ever heard of, and I have to tell someone about it.
Unbroken is the amazingly true story of former Olympic distance runner Louis Zamperini, whose plane crashed in the middle of the ocean during World War II, beginning an unimaginable tale of survival, so there are already a lot of close calls, weighted moments, and, like I said, coincidences. But one of the biggest so far is that it’s being directed by Angelina Jolie…who just happens to live in the same Los Angeles neighborhood as Louis himself, who just happens to still be alive, at age ninety-seven.
And what’s even more interesting is how the two of them have been able to help each other. Angelina feels she came along at the perfect time to help lift Louis and his story further into the public eye, and also feels that directing the film gave her the sense of purpose and direction that she’d been missing in her own life.
“I imagine that for the last 10-something years, he’s been sitting there having a coffee in the morning and wondering who’s going to make this movie. And I’ve been sitting in my room laying there thinking, ‘What am I supposed to be doing with my life? I wanna do something important. I wanna connect. I need some help. I need some guidance. Where is it?’ And it was right outside my window.”
Crazy. Crazy town. Once you have as many family responsibilities as Angelina does, you have to be pretty choosy about the work you take on, especially directing, ‘because it takes much more time away from your family and much more effort than acting’. You really have to weigh out the importance of the project and find something that you can ‘love and care about’. And if you ask Angelina, this one was a no-brainer.
“[I feel] such a huge responsibility to get it right, because I love him so much and he’s helped me so much in my life. This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I pitched my butt off.”
And I’m glad you did, because to live in the same neighborhood as the film’s subject himself? That’s gotta be some kinda sign.
(Photo: Universal Pictures)