Francis Lawrence to Direct Adaptation of WWII Novel 'Unbroken'
His most recent work on the adaptation of Water for Elephants won't be seen until later this year, but director Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) has already lined up another project. Deadline reports Universal has acquired the rights to Laura Hillenbrand's book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, and Redemption with Lawrence in talks to direct. In addition, the studio also wants Crazy Heart writer/director Scott Cooper to write the script (though no deal is in place yet). Just released last November, the book currently sits at #2 on The New York Times bestseller list, so now is the time to get this war drama sent to the big screen.
Hillenbrand is no stranger to having her work adapted for the big screen since she also wrote the book behind the script for Seabiscuit, and here's the story we'll hopefully see on the big screen sometime in the future:
From the 1936 Olympics to WWII Japan's most brutal POW camps, Hillenbrand's heart-wrenching new book is thousands of miles and a world away from the racing circuit of her bestselling 'Seabiscuit.' But it's just as much a page-turner, and its hero, Louie Zamperini, is just as loveable: a disciplined champion racer who ran in the Berlin Olympics, he's a wit, a prankster, and a reformed juvenile delinquent who put his thieving skills to good use in the POW camps, In other words, Louie is a total charmer, a lover of life--whose will to live is cruelly tested when he becomes an Army Air Corps bombardier in 1941. The young Italian-American from Torrance, Calif., was expected to be the first to run a four-minute mile. After an astonishing but losing race at the 1936 Olympics, Louie was hoping for gold in the 1940 games. But war ended those dreams forever.
The amazing story continues with a plane crash, 47-days adrift on the ocean, hard times in a Japanese POW camp, near-death experiences and much more. The full summary of the book is a little lengthy, so if you want to check the whole thing out, head on over to Amazon's page for the book and you just might be convinced to pick it up for a read.
Apparently Universal picked up Zamperini's life rights back in 1957 along with his memoir The Devil at My Heels and the late Tony Curtis interested in taking the part. Then the project died off, but had a bit of a revival after the Nagano Olympics (Zamperini carried the torch) with Nicolas Cage interested in leading. Obviously nothing has happened with the story yet, but with this new book, it sounds like a great opportunity to try and get it off the ground again. Interested?