- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - For more than 50 years, Hollywood has flirted with bringing Louis Zamperini’s story to the big screen. In her second movie as director, Angelina Jolie has finally filmed the story of an Olympic runner who in World War II was a castaway at sea for 47 days before being found and put in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Here are excerpts from a recent interview with Jolie in which she reflected on the challenges of “Unbroken,” the collaborators who helped her and the experience of working again with husband Brad Pitt for their recently shot drama “By the Sea.”

ON PLAYING A COUPLE IN CRISIS WITH PITT

“At the end of the day, you are actually the best teammates. Nobody’s in your corner more. It almost makes you get past those issues because you can almost laugh at them. You do a film about bad marriage or fighting and you witness that behavior. You study it, you let it out, you attack each other and then you just want to hold each and make sure you never behave that way.”

ON FITTING ZAMPERINI’S EPIC LIFE INTO ONE MOVIE

“I remember thinking, ‘God, I can’t understand why it would take 50 years. This is the greatest adventure.’ Then when we were on set trying to deal with as much as we had to deal with in our budget, for our time, I suddenly became painfully aware of why it had taken so long. We had moments where we felt we were up against the impossible. It’s a big, big life.”

ON ZAMPERINI’S SPIRIT

“For his 96th birthday, I got this big blue cake with this tiny yellow little raft and little shark fins. When I was bringing it to the restaurant, I suddenly had this horrible thought. I realized, ‘Oh my god, this is the ocean where he lost his friends. This is where (Francis “Mac” McNamara) died. How is he going to take this? Did I make a huge mistake?’ I brought him the cake and he looked at it and he picked up the shark fin and he smiled at me and he put it in his mouth and ate the shark first.”

ON THE COEN BROTHERS, CO-WRITERS OF THE SCREENPLAY

“I was very nervous the first meeting. They’re just so kind and so helpful, so humble and just so intelligent, so witty. You just feel like you’re in great hands. I needed to make sure the film also had this structure and wit and a certain amount of playfulness between the men, and that this was something it really needed. The nice thing was they came on not because I called. They came on out of respect for the story. They came on, like everybody joined on to this, because of Louis.”

ON CINEMATOGRAPHER ROGER DEAKINS

“He was absolutely just the most extraordinary (director of photography) to work with. We really wanted to make a film that was beautiful because we knew it was hard to watch. We talked a lot about films that were shot in an accidental way but made quite classic, very decided in how they’re shot. … Without Roger Deakins, I don’t know how I would have managed all these things, but he is so strong and steady and he shoots things so beautifully.”

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