After Jolie signed in December, she spent weeks searching for the right writers for the job, and wanted only top-flight talent. William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese worked on previous drafts pre-Jolie.
Louis Zamperini was a Los Angeles high school track star who raced in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In 1943, his Air Force plane crashed in the Pacific. He survived without food and water for 47 days, enduring shark attacks, aerial attacks and hunger before washing 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.
Jolie is producing with Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff. Walden Media will co-finance.
Among the top screenwriters in town, the Coens have been nominated five times for Academy Awards in the writing category, winning for No Country for Old Men and Fargo. The brothers usually direct and produce what they write, but they take on assignments in rare cases.