As you may recall, I've mentioned that my friend, writer-director Mick Garris (who among many things wrote the film Hocus Pocus, directed the TV mini-series adaptations of The Stand and The Shining, and created Showtime's Masters of Horror) was the son-in-law of Louis Zamperini, the subject of Laura Hillenbrand's novel Unbroken, and the film adaptation coming on Christmas Day. Louie passed away this past July at the age of 97, though long enough to have seen rough material of the movie and develop a close friendship with the film's director, Angelina Jolie, who oddly enough lived only blocks from him. I only had the chance to meet him once, but he was a joy, and it was clear see why most everyone would be able to become friends with him.
Needless-to-say, I've been keeping close tabs on the film, for which Mick serves as executive producer. (Much as I'm looking forward to the movie, when the ads come on, what I most look forward to are the credits...) I have a screening of it coming soon, but Mick saw it a couple days ago. He'd seen a rough cut, a while back, but this was the first time he saw everything completed. What he wrote to me was --
"Hard to be objective, but pretty spectacular. And very emotional for all of us." Obviously, as he notes, it's impossible for him to be anything other than deeply subjective, but that can work both ways. When one is so close to something, your standards and expectations are far higher, and it's therefore easier to be let down. Still, this isn't an objective view. But he went on to say, "It is a remarkable experience, and one I'm happy for Louie and Cynthia (and me!) to have. With such a long, eventful life, it's tough to see some things tightened or left out or emphasis changed here or there, but every bit of it is true, and Angie is a great filmmaker and wonderful human being. She's been great with all of us, and her friendship with Louie was remarkable."
Until we get to the movie soon enough, here's a quite-wonderful feature on Louie that CBS Sunday Morning did after the book was published. Lots of footage of him, along with conversations with Laura Hillenbrand (with whom he had a great relationship), and you'll see on-camera why he's a gem.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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