By Mark Worgan On December 19, 2012

Angelina Jolie Lines Up Olympic War Story 'Unbroken' As Next Directorial Project

'Maleficent' star will direct first major studio project

Angelina Jolie has announced that she's set for her second film project as a director, and first for a major studio (Universal), 'Unbroken' the story of an Olympian who became a WWII prisoner of war, Louis Zamperini.

The flick will be Jolie's second as a director (excluding the 2007 documentary 'A Place In Time), after 2011's 'In The Land of Blood and Honey'.

Zamperini's incredible story is that of a Depression era child who was the youngest member of the US 1936 Olympic team for the Berlin Games, Zamperini failed to medal, but Hitler was reportedly so impressed with the young athlete's pluck that he asked to meet him.

Zamperini would've been a favourite for the 1940 Tokyo Olympics but instead arrived as a member of the US Airforce in World War II, after his aircraft was downed in the Pacific the former track ace survived on a raft for 47 days until they were caught by the Japanese Navy. Then things got worse as Zamperini was tortured by his Japanese captors.

According to, Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley said in a statement: “In her life and in her work, Angelina has embraced stories and causes involving great struggle and triumph over tremendous odds and the basic human condition,” adding: “She has a real ability to illustrate the strength in human spirit which will be essential in telling Lou’s story of survival and great heroism.”

A movie version of Zamperini's incredible story has been in the works since the 1950s, when Universal bought the rights with an eye on it being Tony Curtis' follow-up role to 'Spartacus', however a movie about the POW and Olympian has gained new momentum since a book on him was published by Lauren Hillenbrand.

In fact, Hillenbrand's book seems to have been key to Jolie's involvement as she said in a statement: “I read Laura Hillenbrand’s brilliant book, and I was so moved by Louie Zamperini’s heroic story, I immediately began to fight for the opportunity to make this film, Louie is a true hero and a man of immense humanity, faith and courage. I am deeply honoured to have the chance to tell his inspiring story.”

PHOTOS: Angelina Jolie at the 2012 Golden Globes

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

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