Friday, May 24, 2024

Angelina Jolie on Making Brutal “Unbroken”: “Some Days My Kids Weren’t Allowed on Set”


Angelina Jolie — everyone will be impressed with her monumental undertaking as director of “Unbroken.” Louie Zamperini’s story of his life as an Olympic gold medal winner and then a prisoner of war is an old fashioned Big Movie that never stints on small details. I spoke to Angie yesterday at a swanky lunch introducing the movie and the cast to the world at the very posh Metropolitan Club. (Men were advised in advance to wear a jacket and a tie, thank you very much.)

Among the guests: Dr. Mehmet Oz, “Arliss” star comedian Robert Wuhl, ABC’s Bob Woodruff, Gayle King, Suze Orman, Arianna Huffington, and scads of media types. Angie was dressed like a severe schoolmarm in a gray suit with a floor length skirt, oversized jacket and crisp white shirt to convey seriousness of purpose. Didn’t work– she’s still sexy as hell. ABC’s George Stephanopolous led an after lunch Q&A with the whole cast– Jack O’Connell, Garrett Hedlund, Japanese rock star Miyaki, and “American Horror Story” star Finn Wittrock.

We learned that Angie showed Zamperini, who died this year at age 97, the whole movie¬† on her laptop in his hospital room. She balanced it over him as he lay dying. So he got to see his whole life in flashback, for real. “He absorbed it like it was familiar. The family, the home, the races.”

We also learned that Miyaki “threw up, vomited”– before and after the major torture scene between his Sgt. Watanabe and O’Connell’s Louie. Miyaki told me he was hired by Jolie because “She was looking for a rock performer, someone who could work in front of a large crowd.” This is very interesting, I think, and a brilliant idea. Watanabe is often torturing and berating huge numbers of American soldiers who are prisoners of war. Despite his sweet face, Watanabe¬† is merciless.

Angelina told me during our talk after lunch that she had all six of her kids with Brad Pitt with her for the shoot. “Some days my kids were not allowed on set, however,” she said but “the rats and sharks were more fun for them.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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