‘Skins’ star lands lead in new film directed by Angelina Jolie

Jack O'Connell will play real-life WWII hero Lou Zamperini in Jolie's 'Unbroken'

Skins star Jack O’Connell (wearing green above) has landed the lead role in Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken.

Unbroken is Jolie’s second project as director following 2011’s In The Land Of Blood And Honey. O’Connell, who has reprised his role as James Cook for Skins‘ final season, airing on Channel 4 now, will star as real-life World War II hero Lou Zamperini.

Zamperini, a former Olympic track athlete, survived a plane crash over the Pacific Ocean and then spent 47 days drifting on a raft. After being picked up by Japanese soldiers, he was locked up in a series of POW camps for the next two-and-a-half years and brutally tortured.

Jolie signed up to direct Unbroken last December (2012) and has said she is “deeply honoured to be telling [Zamperini’s] extraordinary story”. This March (2013), she hired the Coen Brothers to rewrite the film’s script, which has already had already had input from William Nicholson (Les Misérables) and Richard LaGravenese (Water For Elephants). The script is based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling biography of Zamperini, who is now 96 years old.

Jolie plans to start shooting this September, says The Hollywood Reporter, and Unbroken will open in US cinemas on December 25, 2014: right in the heart of awards season. The UK release date has yet to be confirmed.