The official new trailer for Angelina Jolie’s second directorial effort, Unbroken, is here and it has quite the story to tell. The film follows the tale of a former Olympic long-distance runner who becomes a World War II prisoner of war after surviving being lost at sea for over 47 days. It may sound like three different feature films in one, but it’s actually all based on the remarkable true story of one incredible man: Louis “Louie” Zamperini, who died only last week from pneumonia at the age of 97.
Jack O’Connell takes on the role of Zamperini, who, in addition to being the subject of the film Unbroken, is also the focus of Laura Hillenbrand’s book of the same name. “I wasn’t really looking for something of this size,” Angelina Jolie told The Los Angeles Times earlier this year of her sophomore directorial feature. “But the way Laura [Hillenbrand] writes about him is the way I like to read about people. It was like I was witnessing the birth of a man — it was something I wanted to tell my sons about.”
The movie, which was co-scripted by the Coen brothers, is already gaining Oscar buzz and given the huge story they have to work with and this first look at the film, it’s not hard to see why. The trailer moves quickly through Zamperini’s triumphant and moving life story, from his childhood to his turn winning races in the Olympics, and finally, to the aftermath of the war.
The trailer may seem a bit premature given that the biopic is still over five months away, hitting theaters on Christmas day. But Universal Pictures, likely aware of the potential as an award season film, seems determined to start its promo campaign early, even releasing a 3-minute preview of the film at this year’s Winter Olympics.
Oscar potential aside, the film shouldn’t have a problem finding an audience. Unbroken the book, first published in 2010, was a New York Times bestseller and has sold nearly four million copies in all formats. As is often the case, interest in the story has peaked again following Zamperini’s death earlier this month. At the time, Jolie, who reportedly grew close to Zamperini during the film’s production, released a statement, saying that, “We are all so grateful for how enriched our lives are for having known him. We will miss him terribly.”’
Universal also gave a statement, confirming they will move forward with the release of Unbroken “with a renewed sense of responsibility in bringing Louie’s abundant life and indomitable spirit to the screen” and calling the film a way to honor “the lessons and legacy of this extraordinary man who has meant so much to many.”
The movie, also co-starring Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), John Magaro (Not Fade Away), and Alex Russell (Carrie) will be released during a crowded box office weekend, going up against Into The Woods, Hot Tub Machine 2, Selma, and Paddington. But given the buzz it’s already earning, moviegoers might want to consider prioritizing this highly anticipated flick over the others, particularly if they only plan on catching one movie over the holiday weekend.