'Chicago P.D.' star Samuel Hunt will portray the Olympian-turned-POW in the story centered on the last third of Laura Hillenbrand's book
Unbroken is getting an unexpected sequel.
The 2014 biopic directed by Angelina Jolie told the story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian who faced harrowing experiences in World War II after his plane crashed over the Pacific and he became a Japanese prisoner of war. The film was based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book of the same name, which chronicled Zamperini’s real-life experiences.
EW has learned that a sequel, tentatively titled Unbroken: Path to Redemption, began shooting Tuesday under the direction of Harold Cronk (God’s Not Dead). The film will explore the final third of Hillenbrand’s book, which was noticeably absent from Jolie’s adaptation, detailing the PTSD and alcoholism he suffered after returning home from his wartime imprisonment. Zamperini credits Billy Graham sermons with restoring his Christian faith, which allowed him to forgive his captors.
Universal 1440 Entertainment, a the production arm of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, and faith-based production company The WTA Group will co-produce the project, with Pure Flix (God’s Not Dead films) distributing.
“Before PTSD even had a name or diagnosis, far too many World War II veterans like Louie battled this invisible pain,” Glenn Ross, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Universal 1440 Entertainment, said in a statement. “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” shines a powerful light on their struggles and how Louie became a beacon of hope to us all.”
Bill Reeves, President of the WTA Group echoed these thoughts saying, “Audiences have long wanted to see the ‘second part’ of Louie Zamperini’s story brought to life. How he found redemption, overcame deep personal struggles and ultimately forgave his captors makes for an inspiring, beautiful film.”
Chicago P.D’s Samuel Hunt will star as Zamperini, who died in 2014 shortly before the release of Unbroken, while Graham’s own grandson Will Graham will portray the famous evangelist.
Christian audiences were previously offered additional content on a special Legacy of Faith DVD, but this is the first time this aspect of Zamperini’s life will receive its own film. “Louie Zamperini’s story in WW2 is well known from Unbroken the book and film,” said producer Matt Baer, who also served as a producer on the 2014 film. “But the details of his post-war struggles and ultimate redemption are so stirring, they deserve to be told in a stand-alone project.”