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Walden, Universal partner on Zamperini pic

Film has been in development for 55 years

Walden Media has partnered with Universal Pictures to bring the Lou Zamperini story to the screen after 55 years in development.

Walden announced its involvement Thursday. Universal originally began development of the Zamperini story in 1956 but wasn’t ever able to bring the pic to the big screen.

Studio bought rights in January to “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand. Tome is based on the true story of Louis Zamperini, a track runner who competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and went on to fight in WWII as an Air Force bombardier and a POW after he crashed in the Pacific.

Erwin Stoff and Matt Baer are producing with Francis Lawrence directing from Richard LaGravanese’s adaptation. Walden CEO Michael Bostick will oversee for Walden Media along with Amanda Morgan Palmer while co-president of production Peter Cramer will oversee for Uni.

Universal optioned an autobiography from Zamperini in 1956 with the intention of Tony Curtis starring. It set up a project with Nicolas Cage attached to star and produce along with Brillstein-Grey in 1998 and hired Michael Tolkin four years later to rewrite the biopic.

Project was dubbed “Iron Man” at that point, a nickname given Zamperini for withstanding torture during his internment by a vicious guard nicknamed “The Bird.” In 2003, Brad Pitt’s Plan B came on produce with Universal and Cage’s Saturn Films on “Lou Zamperini” and attached Antoine Fuqua to direct.

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