Angelina Jolie Tears Up on 'Today Show'

When Angelina Jolie sat down with The Today Show to discuss her upcoming film, “Unbroken,” she teared up as she spoke of Louis Zamperini, the man whose true story she tells. “I can’t talk about it without crying,” she told NBC’s Joelle Garguilo. 

Jolie has adapted an emotional story to the screen: Zamperini was an Olympic long-distance runner who enlisted as a World War II bombardier. When his B-24 crashed in the Pacific Ocean, he spent 47 days in a life raft before getting tortured for two years in a Japanese internment camp in 1943. Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 bestselling biography, “Unbroken,” captures this ordeal as well as Zamperini’s postwar alcoholism. 

With Joel and Ethan Coen screenwriting, Jolie figured out how to tell Zamperini’s extraordinary story in film form. It helped that she knew him personally. In an interview with the LA Times, Jolie said, “I’ve spent time with Lou and have been influenced by his story.” 

When Zamperini was hospitalized this year (he died in July), Jolie brought the rough cut of the film to his bedside. “As a man of faith, he very much believed he would see everyone soon in heaven and he was preparing for that, so he was revisiting his memories to prepare himself to pass away,” Jolie said. “There’s no Hollywood premiere that would mean more than sitting in that room alone with him at the end of his days.”