Belfast Telegraph

War hero my inspiration, says Jolie

Angelina Jolie has spoken of how Louis Zamperini taught her to embrace challenges as she attended the premiere of her new film Unbroken.

The Oscar-winning actress directed the film starring young Brit rising star Jack O'Connell as the late Zamperini, a Second World War hero and athlete who ran in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

The screen beauty, 39, walked the red carpet at the Odeon Leicester Square in London, and was joined by cast members including Japanese musician Miyavi, who makes his international acting debut in the film, and fellow cast members Luke Treadaway and Ross Anderson.

Zamperini survived a harrowing 47 days afloat in the Pacific Ocean following the 1943 crash of his US military plane and spent the following two years as a prisoner of war after washing up behind Japanese lines.

Angelina revealed: "Louis has grounded me to remember so many deep values in life. To be open to faith, more open to other people, and most of all I think he says to all of us 'when you see a challenge, when you see an obstacle in front of you, no matter what it is, not only, don't be overwhelmed by it but smile at it and attack it and see it as something that will make you better'."

The mother-of-six, who underwent a double mastectomy after testing positive for having a cancer gene and campaigned for peace in her capacity as a UN ambassador, revealed she wants her eldest sons Maddox and Pax to see the film.

She said: "I think it's a very important story for young people to see. It's got that young teen rating.

"I think we need to remember this generation that came before us, and what they sacrificed, and what their values were. As men of service there was something about the values they held dear that made them exceptional. I think that is something this generation should be inspired by."

Angelina made her directorial debut in 2011 with In The Land Of Blood And Honey, a drama set during the Bosnian conflict.

She revealed: "I never knew I could direct or wanted to direct until a few years ago, and I became a director by default.

"I had written something and it was sensitive material and I just didn't want to hand it over.

"So I volunteered myself, but I didn't think I'd love it, I didn't think I'd be any good at it, I just tried to do my best.

"And I would never ever have imagined that I would be in a position to do a film like this, of this scale and what I feel is very important."

Former Skins star Jack, 24, from Derby revealed he and his director shared a moment on the red carpet of pride that they had achieved the telling of Zamperini 's story.

He said of being cast in the film: "There was a huge pressure at first. When I got the news I felt a huge array or emotions. I first felt very incapable, but I've since learnt Angie did too. We both didn't know that we'd be able to achieve.

"And so the fact that we're here now, sort of the light at the end of the tunnel, we both had a moment then, me and Angie, that we're kind of in disbelief."

Unbroken is released in cinemas on December 26.

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