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Louis Zamperini gave Angelina Jolie special gift before filming ‘Unbroken’

Angelina Jolie

CORRECTS DATE TO SEPTEMBER 2013, INSTEAD OF SEPT. 29, 2013. FILE - In this July 29, 2013 file photo, Angelina Jolie delivers a statement before screening the film “In the Land of Blood and Honey” directed by her, at the United Nations University in Tokyo. Jolie arrived in Sydney in September 2013 with plans to direct the film “Unbroken,” the true survival story of Lou Zamperini, a World War II hero and track star who ran in the 1936 Berlin games. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)


Angelina Jolie is in Sydney, Australia, to direct “Unbroken,” a film about an Olympic runner turned World War II POW and hero.

Louis Zamperini, 96, placed eighth in the 5000m at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In 1943, as an Army bombardier, he survived 47 days in the Pacific Ocean with two other men after their military plane crashed and then two years at a Japanese POW camp.

Jolie and Zamperini met last winter, and the Olympian gifted Jolie a gold pendant in the shape of a running shoe, “a prize from his running days,” according to People, which reported she planned to wear it during filming.

“Angelina is a human dynamo, and I know she will tell this story in the right way,” Zamperini said, according to the magazine.

English actor Jack O’Connell will play Zamperini. The film is scheduled to be released in December 2014.

The film is based off a book written by Laura Hillenbrand, “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.” Hillenbrand also wrote “Seabiscuit,” which was made into a film, too.

“Like all readers of Laura’s book and all people who love and admire Louis, I am a fan,” Jolie told People. “It will be hard to make a film worthy of this great man. I am deeply honored to have the chance.”

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