Angelina Jolie with war hero Louis Zamperini.
Angelina Jolie with war hero Louis Zamperini. Universal Pictures

Image reveals close bond between Angelina Jolie and war hero

AN INTIMATE portrait has been released of filmmaker Angelina Jolie with war hero Louis Zamperini.

Jolie's upcoming drama Unbroken is based on Zamperini's life, and a fact sheet released by Universal Pictures reveals the pair has become close.

"Jolie and Zamperini, neighbours in the Hollywood Hills, have become close friends over the development of the film, as the filmmaker has listened to the war hero recount the incredible incidents of his life over many months of preparation," the release said.

"Zamperini gave Jolie a golden running shoe pendant, a prize from one of his earliest races, which she will wear every day as she helms the film in Australia over the coming months."

Filming is due to begin on October 21 on location in regional NSW, Sydney's Fox Studios and at Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast.

The film is based on Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand's novel Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.

In a statement, Jolie said Zamperini had made her "a better person".

"It will be hard to make a film worthy of this great man," she said.

"I am deeply honoured to have the chance and will do all I can to bring Louie's inspiring story to life. 

"He has made me a better person."

Zamperini described Jolie, who made her directorial debut with the film In the Land of Blood and Honey, as a "human dynamo".

"Angelina is a human dynamo, and I know she will tell this story in the right way," he said.

"I've received so many letters and talked to so many people who say that Laura's book has helped them when they were going through hard times.  I believe the movie will reach even more people with that message."

Unbroken is due for release in Australian cinemas on January 8, 2015.