Angelina Jolie Fights Tears Over Unbroken, Reveals She’ll Act A “Few More” Times
Angelina Jolie gets emotional while talking about war hero Louis Zamperini and Unbroken, the movie she has directed about his amazing life, in a new Variety cover story. “I don’t want to cry, and I’m not going to cry in front of you,” she tells the interviewer as her eyes well with tears, sitting down to talk shortly after Zamperini’s death at 97 over the summer.
“They say you should never meet your heroes, because they often disappoint you,” Jolie tells the magazine. “But Louis really was one of the greatest people ever.” The two formed a special bond throughout the development of the project, and Jolie finished a first cut of the film just in time to show it to Zamperini on her computer, in his hospital bed, the day before he entered the ICU for the final time.
She recalls, “We were able to show him his life just in time to let him see all that he had accomplished and reflect on all the people he’s loved and was about to reunite with in heaven.” Starting to tear up, Jolie explains, “It’s not about ego, he didn’t want to be famous. He wanted to make sure his message was clear. It’s why he did speaking engagements, it’s why he did his book. It’s why he tried to get a movie made for 57 years. Everybody who reads this book and knows his life feels very connected to this man.”
Jolie and Brad Pitt became friends with Zamperini’s children Luke and Cynthia, who says, “The night our father passed away, she and Brad came to our home and took such beautiful care of us. They cried with us, they held us, they made a soft place for us to fall. At one point I told her, ‘My father was really in love with you.’ And she said, ‘I was in love with him!’”
“With her star power and her unbelievable focus, she got this film on the fast track,” Luke tells Variety. His sister says, “She really swooped in like an angel.”
Jack O’Connell, who plays Zamperini in the movie, was picked by Jolie because “it had to be somebody who had the strength and masculinity of that era — a real man’s man, a physical man. And at the same time, it had to be a skilled actor who can be deeply emotional and make people root for him.”
The actor says he met with Zamperini before filming to get his blessing. “We sat in his dining room, and he showed me his memorabilia and I got really emotional,” remembers O’Connell. “He and his family welcomed me in, so I could go to Australia feeling I was championed by his people.”
As for the future, Jolie reveals that directing is her real love. “I’m happier when I get to put a camera on another actor and watch them do great work,” she says. What about rumors she’ll retire from acting? “I’ll do a few more,” she says.