Angelina Jolie and 'Unbroken' subject Louis Zamperini were neighbors this whole time



Actress/director Angelina Jolie is working on a new film, "Unbroken," the story of Louis Zamperini, a U.S. Summer Olympian gold medalist in the 1936 games who was later shot down over the Pacific Ocean in World War II, spent 47 days in a raft and then was captured and held in a Japanese POW camp.

It's a remarkable story anyway, but it's made even more remarkable by the fact that 97-year-old Zamperini is still living -- practically in Jolie's backyard.

"Today" did a feature with the two at Zaporini's Hollywood home, where you can literally see Jolie's house from his deck. The affection between them is palpable (and adorable), though Jolie says their friendship just adds to the weight of responsibility in making the film.

"There's such a huge responsibility to get it right because I love him so much and he's helped me so much in my life," says Jolie. She adds that, believe it or not, it was hard to get a studio to greenlight "Unbroken."

"This has been the hardest thing I've ever done. I had all the hours of phone calls and things and made all these [story] boards. I took my glue and tape and pictures off the internet and tried to -- I put all my boards in a garbage bag and carried them to Universal and set them out. I pitched my butt off," says Jolie.

But the project was important to her because of the message. "I think for my children and everybody in the world, I want to be able to say, it can seem dark and hopeless and very overwhelming. but the resilience and the strength of the human spirit is an extraordinary thing."

"Unbroken" is set for a Christmas 2014 release.
Photo/Video credit: NBC