Skins' Jack O'Connell Will Be Unbroken

For Angelina Jolie's latest directing gig

With a US release date now set for December next year, Angelina Jolie’s second directorial effort, Unbroken, is starting to lock down its cast. First up is the movie’s leading man, and Skins / Harry Brown veteran Jack O’Connell has won the role.

O’Connell will be Lou Zamperini, an LA high school track star who raced in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. During World War II, his Air Force plane crashed in the Pacific. He survived without food and water for 47 days, enduring shark attacks, strafings and hunger. He finally washed ashore on a Japanese island behind enemy lines, where he was held as a prisoner of war for two years and tortured by his captors.

It’s all based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book, which chronicled Zamperini’s incredible story. The script has been in the works for a couple of years now, ever since Universal picked up the rights. It has been through the hands of Francis Lawrence and William Nicholson, and Jolie had the Coen brothers write the most recent draft.

Before he hits our screens in Unbroken, O’Connell will be seen as Calisto in 300: Rise Of An Empire, which is out on March 7 next year. Jolie herself will presumably be aiming to shoot this before she hits the publicity round for Maleficent next summer.