Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Angelina Jolie in Talks to Direct WWII Flick: Is She the Next Kathryn Bigelow?

As Kathryn Bigelow rakes in accolades for her Oscar-bait film, Zero Dark Thirty another woman director is making headlines for taking on the subject of war on film:  has learned Angelina Jolie is in talks to direct Unbroken for Universal.

The film is based off a 2010 bestselling novel of the same name and is set during World War II. It follows Olympian and war hero Louis Zamperini, who after a plane crash survived in a life raft with two other survivors for 47 days, was captured by the Japanese military, and became a prisoner of war. The book, which was the winner of the Los Angeles Book of the Year Award for Nonfiction, was a best seller for more than 108 consecutive weeks, no doubt thanks to the unbelievable nature of the true story.

With such a traumatic tale in her hands, and after taking on the dark love story set during the Bosnian War with In the Land of Blood and Honey in 2011, could Jolie be making moves to align herself with the Hurt Locker director? Bigelow is making strides for the community of criminally underrepresented female directors in Hollywood with the critical success of Zero Dark Thirty (and all before its Dec. 19 release), so it’s hard not to connect Jolie’s second turn as a director of a war-themed story to the Oscar-winning filmmaker’s works. Of course, while both directors have an affinity for bringing trying tales to the big screen, Jolie hasn’t garnered nearly the same level of respect as Bigelow, who’s been directing full-length features since 1982 while Jolie’s career behind the camera only stretches back to 2011.

Still, while In the Land of Blood and Honey debuted to mixed reviews, Jolie’s popularity certainly aids the charge of bringing equality to directing big budget films by providing greater visibility while Bigelow’s work brings the requisite dose of credibility.

In a statement announcing Jolie’s potential involvement in the film, Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley said, “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 … 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.”

In response to the opportunity, Jolie also offered comment. “I read [author] 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,” she says. “Louie is a true hero and a man of immense humanity, faith and courage. I am deeply honored to have the chance to tell his inspiring story.”

It’s highly unlikely that with just two films under her belt, Jolie can attain Bigelow status, but her entrance into the fold of successful, well-known women directors whose specialty isn’t the Rom-Com or supernatural teen romance certainly can’t hurt.

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