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Richard LaGravenese To Adapt WWII Survival Tale 'Unbroken' For Francis Lawrence

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist March 30, 2011 at 3:17AM

While director Francis Lawrence made his name in Hollywood directing big budget flag wavers like "Constantine" and "I Am Legend," the helmer is looking to broaden his horizons and get out of the VFX and explosions game. He's got the Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz led period romance "Water For Elephants" around the corner and earlier this year, he lined up the WWII tale based on Laura Hillenbrand‘s bestseller “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” over at Universal. At the time it was said that "Crazy Heart" writer/director Scott Cooper might pen the adaptation, but instead an Oscar nominated writer/director has gotten the job.
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While director Francis Lawrence made his name in Hollywood directing big budget flag wavers like "Constantine" and "I Am Legend," the helmer is looking to broaden his horizons and get out of the VFX and explosions game. He's got the Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz led period romance "Water For Elephants" around the corner and earlier this year, he lined up the WWII tale based on Laura Hillenbrand‘s bestseller “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption” over at Universal. At the time it was said that "Crazy Heart" writer/director Scott Cooper might pen the adaptation, but instead an Oscar nominated writer/director has gotten the job.

Deadline reports that Richard LaGravenese ("Conviction," "The Fisher King") will adapt the amazing story of Louis Zamperini, a former Olympian who endured unbelievable hardship while a Japanese POW during WWII. He was subjected to medical experiments, slave labor, and brutal beatings and became the target of one sadistic guard in particular, Mutsuhiro Watanabe, whose goal it was to break Zamperini. The athlete endured his harsh punishment right though until the end of the year, but the lingering effects were still felt. He routinely had terrifying nightmares, suffered alcoholism and on the verge of losing everything, he found God and forgave his captors, even traveling to Japan to forgive them in person (though Watanabe refused to meet him).

Are you smelling something? That's right, it's Oscar bait, but that's certainly one helluva tale that could make for a great watch. But no word yet on when it will lens. As you might remember, Lawrence also has "Snow And The Seven" -- yes, another revisionist fairy tale -- brewing over at Disney with Michael Arndt penning the screenplay. We'll have to see which one beats the clock for Lawrence's attention first.

This article is related to: Francis Lawrence, Richard LaGravenese