LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- When Angelina Jolie read the novel "Unbroken," she knew she wanted to bring the story to the big screen.
"Unbroken" tells the story of Torrance native Louis Zamperini who became a World War II war hero.
He once said if he hadn't started running he would have ended up in jail, but instead he found himself competing in the 1936 Olympics.
He then entered the armed forces during World War II. A plane Zamperini was in went down and crashed over the Pacific. He then survived 47 days at sea only to become a prison of war by the Japanese.
Jolie, who directs the movie, said she lobbied hard to tell Zamperini's incredible story.
"I thought, 'What would it be like to spend years of my life walking in this man's footsteps? I would learn so much. I hope I get a chance to take this journey,'" she said. "And then I met him...he just was the greatest man."
She added that the movie was the hardest creative project she had ever done.
"What was bizarre is that as I was trying to get the job I would say, "Oh, I can do this! Oh, a plane crash? I can do that! Shark attack? I've studied that. Recreating the '36 Olympics? Yes, I'm ready.' And then I got the job and I thought, 'Whew. Okay, all right...I better somehow walk on set with confidence even if I'm not sure yet," she said.
As for the depiction of war in the movie? Jolie made sure to show the brutality of it.
"I believe that if you want to tell a story about rising up against the abuse and being able to find your resolve, you have to show the abuse," she said.
"Unbroken" opens in theaters nationwide on Christmas Day.
Angelina Jolie says movie 'Unbroken' was her hardest creative project
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