During the time away, I had lunch with my friend writer-director Mick Garris -- we were supposed to get together tomorrow, but something came up so we switched. As I've mentioned in the past, Mick is the son-in-law of Louie Zamperini, who you might recognize as the subject of the wildly successful best-seller, Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand.
The movie rights were bought by Universal, but for the longest time, the movie was lost in development hell. However, they finally got a screenplay they were happy with and a director, and things moved forward. And it was an impressive team. The adaptation screenplay is written by, of all people, the Coen Bros. And Angelina Jolie was signed to direct. According to Mick, she was in deep love with the book and came to the table with phenomenal passion and understanding of what the movie should be. And that's why he had to cancel our lunch -- he's having lunch tomorrow with Louie and "Angie."
The movie has been in production, shooting in Australia, and it's now wrapped. (Mick is the executive producer of the film, though he notes that he has next to nothing to do with it, it's mainly a contractual thing and keep the family protected. He's offered some thoughts, but makes clear they've been minimal.) Above all, he always says how he adores Angie, thinks she's the greatest. She's been so solicitous to Louie, and show great insight into the film.
I asked if this was going to be the studio's big Summer film, and he said, no, they think higher of it there, and are going to make it their major Oscar push. Everyone at the studio has been so excited about it, and the scheduled release is Christmas Day, to get the highest visibility for the Oscar campaign.
By the way, Mick said that Tom Browkaw is coming by the house tomorrow to interview Louie. NBC is going to run a feature on him during the Olympics this Sunday (I believe). That's because before he went to war, Lou was an Olympian, running track. He finished eighth in the 5000 meters at the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Lou is now 97 years old, and still sprightly. I only met him once, probably 15 years ago, but he was outgoing and charming. For all I know, he still is.
Now, if you'll excuse me, speaking of the Olympics, I've got to get back to my DVR recordings of today's events. I've been away far too long, and it's starting having its impact. Shaky hands, sweat down my forehead, that sort of thing...