Nightly News   |  February 25, 2014

Veteran’s Harrowing Tale Immortalized by Angelina Jolie

NBC News’ Tom Brokaw interviews Angelina Jolie about her latest film, “Unbroken,” chronicling the remarkable life of 97-year-old Louis Zamperini.  

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally here tonight, we can all learn something from the life that louie zamparini has lived. a life that spanned almost a century, perseverance. before and during world war ii . now a book about his life unbroken is being made into a film by angelina jolie . and that is a story in itself.

>> this is a love story , set in the secluded canyon of the hollywood hills . buzzed by hummingbirds and often paparazzi. it's home to an american legend . his story immortalized in the story "unbroken."

>> you train, you fight harder than those other guys and you win.

>> a track star in the 1936 olympics, during world war ii , his bomber was shot down in the pacific. he survived 47 days in a life raft and then barbaric war crimes in a japanese prisoner of war camp .

>> i can make it, i can make it.

>> he described himself as a dead body breathing. was that the moment when you almost gave up?

>> no, i never gave up. i just thought, well, what's left? nothing. just skin and bone , down to 65 pounds from 155. it was heartbreaking. but it's -- i never had a throughout in my mind ever about giving up.

>> that's the attitude that inspired the director of the film, unbroken, superstar angelina jolie .

>> hello. hi, louie .

>> hi, i miss you.

>> i miss you, louie .

>> she read the book, she pitched universal studios , owned by nbc's parent company to make the movie.

>> i put on my boards in a garbage bag and carried them to universal and put them out. i pitched my butt off.

>> she was astonished when she found out where her hero lived, literally just across the way. they're neighbors and they had no clue.

>> i can show you my roof. i can imagine for the last 10 years he's been having a coffee in the morning, and wondering, who's going to make this movie. and i've been sitting in my room laying there thinking, what am i supposed to do with my life? i want to do something important, i want to connect, i need some guidance. where is it? and it was right outside my window.

>> tom brokaw with the story of louie and his famous neighbor from across the way.