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Angelina Jolie has been developing her sophomore directorial effort, the war drama Unbroken, since December of last year, and today she's taken some more steps towards getting the film into production. The Wrap is reporting that both Harry Potter's Domhnall Gleeson and All My Children's Finn Wittrock have both signed on for roles in the movie, joining up-and-comer Jack O'Donnell.
Based on a true story, Unbroken tells the incredible tale of Lou Zamperini, an Olympic track and field star who served with the Air Force back during World War II. In 1943, Zamperini's plane experienced a mechanical malfunction and went down over the Pacific Ocean, leaving him to spend a total of 47 days in the water, surviving on rain water and raw fish. Even though he didn't have any supplies and regularly endured shark attacks, the hero managed to survive - but when he finally made it to shore in Japan he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for two years. While O'Connell will be taking on the role of Zamperini, Gleeson and Wittrock will play Russel Allen "Phil" Phillips and Francis "Mac" McNamara, who were also in the plane that got shot down and worked to survive with the main character.
The film is being adapted from the best-selling book “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” by author Laura Hillenbrand, and while early drafts of the screenplay were written by William Nicholson (Tom Hooper's Les Miserables) and Richard LaGravenese (Beautiful Creatures), the most recent version was scripted by Joel and Ethan Coen. Last month it was announced that Universal Pictures is planning to release the film on December 25, 2014, and production is gearing up to start this fall.
Gleeson, who is the son of Brendan Gleeson, is perhaps best known for his performance as Bill Weasley in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Parts 1 and 2, but has since put on solid supporting performances in films like James Marsh's Shadow Dancer, Pete Travis' Dredd, and Joe Wright's Anna Karenina. He will next be seen playing the lead opposite Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy in Richard Curtis' About Time, and you can watch the most recent trailer for that film below:
Unlike Gleeson, Wittrock has spent most of his career on television, not only starring in the soap opera All My Children, but also appearing in episodes of shows like Torchwood, CSI: Miami, and Criminal Minds. While he has yet to have his big screen debut, that will change in a big way next year when he stars in both Akiva Goldman's adaptation of Winter's Tale and Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic Noah.