The cast of “Unbroken” shared stories of filming and of Olympic runner and war hero Louis Zamperini with NBC News.
British actor Jack O’Connell played Zamperini in the film, which hits theaters on Christmas. O’Connell said he met Zamperini three times before he died at age 97 in July.
“Louis struck me as an incredibly selfless human being, but genuinely, to the point where other people mattered more than him,” O’Connell said. “That kept him alive.”
Zamperini placed eighth in the 5000m at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. In 1943, as an Army bombardier, he survived 47 days in the Pacific Ocean with two other men after their military plane crashed and then two years at a Japanese prisoner of war camp.
His story is the subject of the best-selling 2010 book, also titled “Unbroken.”
“I had this one dream,” O’Connell said, “that I’d be on the red carpet with him.”