Today's blog post is a guest piece by Keynote's Marketing Assistant, Nicole Newton, who worked at a movie theater from 2007-2011 and, as a result, has seen almost every movie to hit theaters during her "career in the industry."
A movie rendition of Louis Zamperini's incredible life has been on the drawing board for over 55 years, but it's been gaining visible momentum since 2010, when author Laura Hillenbrand published "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption." Since its publication, "Unbroken" has remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over 120 consecutive weeks, surpassing Hillenbrand's first novel, "Seabiscuit," and all but twelve other books in history.
In December Angelina Jolie was announced as the film's director, followed by news that Joel and Ethan Coen, who wrote the screenplays for No Country For Old Men and Fargo, will be re-writing the script. While this will only be Jolie's second attempt at directing a movie, following In The Land of Blood And Honey, she's clearly passionate about the film.
Angelina was quoted in an article on Deadline.com saying, “I read Laura Hillenbrand’s brilliant book, and I was so moved by Louie Zamperini’s heroic story, I immediately began to fight for the opportunity to make this film. Louie is a true hero and a man of immense humanity, faith and courage. I am deeply honored to have the chance to tell his inspiring story.”
With the announcement of director and screenwriters made public, the next question on everyone's mind is who will be playing Louis.
In a recent interview, both Hillenbrand and Zamperini seemed enthusiastic about Ryan Gosling portraying Louis. Zamperini mentioned he saw Gosling at the Academy Awards and thought he would be an "ideal" fit for the role, but also mentioned "Hollywood is full of good, young actors."
Other actors on the table, according to the same article, include James Franco and Jake Gyllenhaal.
According to Matt Baer, the film's producer, the most important part of selecting the lead boils down to finding "somebody who is charming, physical and someone capable of a great range of emotion."
While Gosling, Franco, and Gyllenhaal all fit the bill, I'd like to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt take the lead.
Gordon-Levitt fits Baer's criteria (charming, physical, someone capable of a great range of emotion) and has a striking resemblance to a young Zamperini. Look at this side-by-side comparison:
Gordon-Levitt has consistently chosen, according to one article advocating the actor as one of today's leading men, "strong, interesting movies with performances that showed a maturity and range that actors two decades his senior would envy… and while the nature of the projects has changed, his commitment to intelligent, compelling work has stayed the same. It's a combination of inventiveness and resolve for the modern age, and it's evident in nearly everything he does."
Gordon-Levitt has recently started taking on more leading roles, starting in 2009 with 500 Days of Summer and, most recently, with Looper. Whether he's playing a supporting character or the lead, he practically specializes in playing intelligent characters ingrained with a complex moral compass.
And who has a more fascinatingly complex story than Louis Zamperini?
Whether you agree or disagree with my choice, please leave your comments below!
This past week saw the sudden and unexpected loss of author, speaker, and journalist Jeffrey Zaslow.
I never met Jeffrey in person, but I would have had the opportunity in April 2012. I had just gotten mutual agreement to book him for an event which I personally would be attending, and I was looking forward to hearing him on stage. Such fascinating stories, such high-profile lives he's touched, such a gift for description, emotion, and most of all, storytelling.
One of the real roots of this industry of guest speakers, public speakers, professional speakers - however you choose to describe it - one of the most important ways to characterize this job/calling/gift of being a speaker is storytelling. You have to tell a good story. More than one in any given speech, actually, woven together in such a way that raises the simple relaying of information to the level of artistry.
I was looking forward to seeing Jeffrey do that. He did it so well in his books; I was sure I had a lot to look forward to in person.
Jeffrey died in a car accident in Michigan, while on tour supporting his recently-released book, "The Magic Room." It hadn't originally been on my radar for books I must read soon, but it is now. I understand it's about a bridal shop, passed down through four generations, and about some of the specific brides that pass through the shop doors, on their way to seek long-lasting love and happiness.
Jeffrey himself has three daughters, so I'm sure this was a very personal book for him; its subtitle is "A Story About the Love We Wish for our Daughters." Amidst their sorrow at the tragic loss of their father, how very glad his daughters must be that he had the opportunity to leave them this book. While he will never attend their weddings, they will know, at least, that he understood, and wished them the best.
His other books include "The Last Lecture" with Randy Pausch, and a book about Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, entitled "Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope." He also co-wrote a book with Captain "Sully" Sullenberger, of Hudson River plane-landing fame.
My job is many things. It's work, it's pleasure, it's fun, it's challenging, it's rewarding, it's unique (or at least unusual). Sometimes, it's also a privilege. And sometimes it's a wake-up call.
Thanks, Jeffrey, for reminding me that I need to get out and see more of these fascinating speakers I book, meet more of them in person. They are such very amazing people, which, of course, is why someone would want to pay them to make a speech.
And of course, I need to make sure I enjoy every minute with my family and friends. While I can.
To his family and friends, to those who did know him, I'm so sorry for your loss.