ByTino Jochimsen, writer at
The bald minority at Moviepilot.
Tino Jochimsen

Well, we have to say we didn't see this one coming.

According to The Hollywood Reporter revered auteurs Joel & Ethan Coen (The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men) are rewriting the screenplay for 's second feature film as a director.

Unbroken is an adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's nonfiction book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, which according to several, rather orgiastic reviews seems to be one spellbinding read.

It tells the story of 1930s track and field star Louis Zamperini, who joined the Air Force during the Second World War was shot down over the water. Even before he joined the war effort, athlete was a pretty interesting character having been a teenage delinquent ne'er-do-well before finding his sport vocation and competing at the 1936 Olympics. After being shot down, his life became even more interesting, as he fought near-starvation, shark attacks and other dangers before making it to an island which, unfortunately, was behind enemy's lines. So began his life as a POW in a Japanese camp, which included quite a bit of torture. The athlete-cum-soldier refused to break down and persevered.

Why, you may ask, would the Coen brothers, who haven't made anything this "inspiring" write the screenplay for a moving, Oscar bait-ish war movie? Especially since they won't direct it; the last time they did that was the reportedly awful Gambit, which still has no release date in the US)?

I can't say for sure, but here’s my guess:

Over ten years ago, the Coens were pretty close to making a WW2 picture of their own, titled To the White Sea, starring .

An adaptation of James Dickey's eponymous novel, the Japan-set war movie was set to tell the story of an American gunner behind enemy lines, who does all sorts of terrible things to stay alive. The project fell apart because nobody was willing to spend lots of money on a picture that violent and gritty, even with a star of Pitt's caliber in the lead. It also didn't help that the script reportedly contained barely any dialogue.

Now, perhaps the Coen brothers see an opportunity in Unbroken to let elements of that project make it to the screen. The theme of survival in wartime seems to be quite pertinent in both projects and both feature similar protagonists, at least at first glance.

In any case: a Coen scripted Angelina Jolie war movie is a much more interesting Angelina Jolie-directed war movie. Don't you think?


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