tv NBC News Special Angelina Jolie Unbroken NBC December 9, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
'cause i need to be a stronger person. i need to -- to know it's gonna be okay in the end. film directed by angelina jolie. >> first, he sinks in and then you react. >> reporter: it's the story of a legendary american hero -- the ultimate survivor. >> was there ever a moment when you thought, "i can't do this. i can't go on?" >> reporter: his story inspired
millions, including the two women who would one day tell it. >> he mailed me his purple heart. he wrote, "i think you deserve this more than i do." >> oh, so many days on set, i thought, "oh god, am i good enough? am i gonna get this done?" and the person who would always make me feel better was louis. >> i never met a girl like her. fortunately for her, i'm not 21. >> reporter: now, angelina jolie sits down with tom brokaw to share her story. talking about her new marriage. >> we've learned a lot more about each other. >> reporter: the "angelina effect" -- and what might happen next. >> i'm sure i will go through it, and whatever i learn i'll share. >> reporter: her future, on the screen, and off. >> there was a report recently you're interested in going into politics. >> ahh -- >> reporter: and the epic film that took her on an extraordinary journey of her own. >> i hope it inspires and makes people feel better about life, because i think we need something like that.
>> reporter: angelina jolie, "unbroken." with tom brokaw. >> reporter: she's a newlywed. and the mother of six. a human rights activist. >> we must send a message around the world. >> reporter: a u.n. special envoy who is as comfortable in war zones -- as she is at buckingham palace. oh, and by the way, she's one of the biggest stars in the world. now angelina jolie is making the biggest play of her career. she is the director and guiding force behind the epic new film, "unbroken" from universal pictures, which is owned by nbc's parent company. for the past year, i've watched as she immersed herself in this complex undertaking. >> you set out to make a film.
but it seems to me that it's become much more than that for you. at this stage in your life and your career, a very personal journey for you as well, that you feel more than just a director/producer's obligation to it. >> oh, absolutely. i've been very, very fortunate to have a nice career. and more than that, i have a great family. and my children, i'm happy being a mom and a wife. my -- my drive to make film is not at all anymore like when i was younger maybe needing to try to communicate or express something or have a career, my drive now is -- is i just wanna learn and grow. and i want to be a part of things that i think are good. you know, i don't know how many years we -- we -- none of us know how -- how long we've got. and -- and to be a part of something that you feel matters, and is good for people, and that i'm gonna be really proud to show my kids. >> reporter: "unbroken" the film is a result of the intersection of three remarkable american lives.
louis zamperini, the olympic star turned american legend whose life story has been immortalized by two women. author laura hillenbrand and now, angelina jolie. each met daunting challenges and somehow remained unbroken themselves. >> i -- they were my -- my anchor -- through -- through dark times. >> reporter: for angelina, the story began back in 2010 when she read laura hillenband's best-selling book "unbroken" about louis zamperini's remarkable life. she saw a lesson in it for us today. >> reporter: we need to be able to believe that we are capable of -- of more than -- than a lot of people, and i think a lot of young people today, feel that they are. >> reporter: as millions now know, louis zamperini went from juvenile delinquent to olympic athlete. survived a wartime plane crash. and 47 days in a liferaft. declared dead, he was subjected
to barbaric war crimes. and then came back a lazarus in khaki. >> given all that you went through, was there ever a moment, at sea, the japanese prisoner camp, in those early bombing raids when you were shot up, when you just fleetingly thought, "i can't do this. i can't go on." >> never occurred to me. i'm a very positive person. no matter what the situation is, i've learned how to to be content. i've learned how to handle it. >> reporter: angelina was so moved by louis' strength she decided she just had to make the film adaptation of laura hillenbrand's book. and so began a romance watched over by a hummingbird that came to visit louis every day at his home in the hollywood hills. >> i -- yeah, she's a doll. i love her. i never -- never met a girl like her. fortunately for her, i'm not 21. [ laughter ]
>> reporter: not 21, but 97. and when i sat down with him earlier this year i was an eyewitness to a love affair. >> oh. >> hi, louis. >> oh, my gal. i miss ya. >> oh, i miss you. >> i miss you, honey. >> i love you. >> hi, how are you? >> hey, good to see you! >> we were talking about the love affair between the two of >> oh i know! you know how hard it is to get your life into one movie? it's one of the hardest things ever. it's why it's taken over 50 years. it's impossible. >>
reporter: when she met him, angelina learned louis had waited almost sixty years to have a movie made about his life. she literally prayed that she would get the chance to finally pull it off. >> oh, god, please. please let me be the one to go on this journey. let me learn more. let me understand more about what this is. 'cause i need to be a stronger person.
i need to understand faith. i need to -- to know it's gonna be okay in the end. and i need to be around heroes like louis and -- and -- have them influence -- my
life. so selfishly, i just wanted to be near -- near the material. >> reporter: when she went to meet louie for the first time. angelina discovered she was closer than she thought. >> i think somebody said he knows where you live. >> well, louis, this was meant to be, because your girlfriend lives in the neighborhood it turns out. >> yeah, i can show you my roof from -- from the window. i imagine that for the last ten something years he's been sitting there having a coffee in the morning and wondering who's gonna make this movie. and i've been sitting in my room, 'cause my bedroom is in the same place, laying there thinking, "what am i supposed to be doing with my life? i wanna do something important. i wanna -- i wanna connect. i need some help. i need some guidance. where is it?" and it was right outside my window. >> reporter: coming up. >> such -- such a huge responsibility to get it right, because i love him so much and
because he's helped me so much in my life. an illness that can cause coughing, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and may even put you in the hospital. prevnar 13 is used in adults 50 and older to help prevent infections from 13 strains of the bacteria that cause pneumococcal pneumonia. you should not receive prevnar 13 if you've had a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine or its ingredients. if you have a weakened immune system, you may have a lower response to the vaccine. common side effects were pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. limited arm movement, fatigue, head ache muscle or joint pain, less appetite, chills, or rash. even if you've already been vaccinated with another pneumonia vaccine, prevnar 13 ® may help provide additional protection. get this one done. ask your healthcare professional about prevnar 13 ® today.
has the power to captivate. that's why shakira uses... crest 3d white with whitelock technology, removing up to ninety percent of surface stains, and locking out future stains. so your smile always steals the show. crest 3d white. so your smile always steals the show. get to t-mobile and knock out your gift list. with zero down and zero interest on the samsung galaxy note 4, the note 10.1, the gear s and more. the big guys job just got easier. for great toys and more one-day only christmas doorbusters. plus, everyone gets kohl's cash. find your yes.
kohl's. let's spark the fire. ♪ use your mastercard with apple pay okay handbag out there...surprise!! and you could get a priceless surprise. woah!! who's next? four!! from golf experiences to concert tickets. ♪ so much cooler when you do it do it do it. ♪ ♪ let's spark the fire. even the chance to meet gwen stefani. ♪ let's spark the fire. cool hair ah! haha priceless. ♪ everybody let's go!
♪ >> that hummingbird became part of the relationship, hovering over the scene tireless and >> reporter: just like louis zamperini, whose life story became a labor of love for angelina jolie -- >> just watching the two of you, i'll bet this is not just a filmmaker's journey for you. i mean, it's become really personal. >> very personal. >> because you've got the legacy of this amazing man in your hands and on the big screen. >> such -- such a huge
responsibility to get it right because i love him so much and because he's helped me so much in my life. >> reporter: but angelina might never have known his story had it not been for the acclaimed author laura hillenbrand, who wrote the huge best seller about "seabiscuit," the 1930s racehorse. >> how did you come across louis zamperini? >> i happened to flip over an article that was on seabiscuit and there's an article on louis zamperini on the other side. and i read it and was immediately fascinated. >> reporter: but she could never travel from her home in washington, d.c. to los angeles to meet louis. to meet louis. laura suffers from a severely incapacitating condition that has left her with constant vertigo and exhaustion so profound that for years, she was housebound. so, she and louis had marathon telephone conversations. >> and when he was telling me his story, i wasn't looking at a 95-year-old man. i was looking at the 26-year-old
on a raft, you know? and i was looking at the teenager who's trying to run in the olympics. and i think it became an advantage to me in -- in telling the story that i -- i wasn't physically with him. >> reporter: "unbroken" the book, now out in paperback, has been on the best-seller list for almost four years. >> we try to then expand on this already very impressive life that laura so beautifully detailed in her book, and try to carry it forward and do nothing, nothing, to -- to hurt it. >> reporter: one of the greatest generation's greatest life stories began in 1917. louis zamperini was born in new york state, but his italian immigrant parents took louis to calfornia when he was a toddler. and the sleepy little city of torrance, near los angeles, got one loud wakeup call. >> louis was hell on wheels as a boy. he was trouble to everyone. he stole everything he could eat. he was breaking into people's places. he was a defiant and very difficult boy. >> reporter: he started smoking at the age of five, drinking
when he was eight. louis' grandson, clay zamperini -- >> he would take a milk bottle and paint the outside of it white and fill it up with wine so it looked like he was sitting on the porch drinking milk like a good boy when it -- and it -- in actuality, he was an eight-year-old getting drunk. >> what is great about louis is that he is -- he's us. he is human. he makes so many mistakes. >> reporter: but just in time, louis' older brother pete saw something -- >> you know, uncle pete was -- he was a runner. and he said, "wow. this is -- this is something my brother can do." so, he gave him direction and said, "why don't you channel all of your energy and passion into something productive." you can take it. you can make it. you train, you fight, way harder than those other guys and you win. >> reporter: after joining the track team, louis set speed records at torrance high school. and then at the university of southern california.
>> zamperini beats the favorite at home by four yards. >> at the age of 19, after a long transatlantic voyage, louis zamperini arrived here in berlin for the 1936 olympics. in the film, louis' grandson clay plays the torch runner and the crew recreated hitler's spectacle. >> it's quite eerie because you feel the -- you feel the propaganda machine. >> reporter: at the olympic stadium in the 5000-meter race, louis got off to a bad start and didn't win a medal. but he made amazing time in his last lap, impressing an infamous spectator. >> you're the only person i've ever met who met hitler. what did he say to you? >> all he said was, "the boy with the fast finish." and that was it. and i couldn't really shake hands. he was up pretty high. so, i just reached up and
touched his hand, and that was it. >> reporter: later that day, he had another run-in with the nazis. >> louis loved stealing things. he had drunk two liters of german beer and he saw outside hitler's chancellery these nazi flags and he wanted to steal one. >> reporter: and louis being louis, that's exactly what he did. >> but he got away without being shot and held on to that flag for almost eighty years. after berlin, louis was determined to go to the 1940 games in tokyo. he'd go to japan all right, but not as a runner. louis enlisted and became a bombardier on a b-24. these scenes from "unbroken" give you some idea of just how dangerous that would be.
louis survived several life-threatening missions. one left 600 bullet holes in the fuselage. on a routine search mission, the engines failed on his b-24. the plane was crashing -- >> louis was in the fetal position in -- in the middle of the plane and thinking, "no one is going to survive this." >> reporter: he blacked out, tangled in wreckage, and then somehow he broke free. louie would come to believe it was a miracle. he doesn't quite understand how he got untangled when he was knocked out. so, you don't want to dismiss one or the other. and -- and to -- to walk a line where there's the suggestion of the miracle, and enough practical to make it believable and realistic for those who
don't believe in miracles. >> reporter: he and two other crewmembers got in open rafts. one of the crewmembers later died. louis and the pilot made it for 47 days. they had almost no food or water. the sharks were the worst. >> the great whites, oh, god, i've never been so scared in my life. all they had to do was bite the raft in two and we'd have become shark fertilizer. >> reporter: louis, played by british actor jack o'connell, promised to dedicate his life to god, if only he would be saved. louis and the other surviving crewmate were eventually found at sea by a japanese ship and sent to a series of pow camps,
one worse than the other. at two of them, he was brutally abused by camp guard mutsuhiro watanabe, known as "the bird." he is played in the film by the japanese actor-musician miyavi. >> look me in the eye. >> reporter: along with the beatings there was psychological torture. but louis' younger days as the hellion of southern california probably helped. >> bad boys win, you know, from time to time. 'cause it takes that kind of bad boy -- >> there you go. >> -- attitude to -- >> yeah. >> i can -- i can get through this. >> it's that fight. it's that fighter, yeah. >> reporter: after a year with so sign of him, american authorities declared louis dead. he was alive but near death. >> you'd gotten down to 67 pounds. you said, "all i see is a dead body breathing." and then you began to cry. was that the moment when you almost gave up? >> no, i didn't. i never gave up. it's just that i saw i'm an athlete and top shape, world's
record, olympics. now, look at my skeletal body. it was heartbreaking. >> reporter: enslaved and subject to brutality for more than two years, louis and the other survivors were finally liberated at war's end in august 1945. reunited with his family, at age 28 louis had surely run through more than his nine lives. then, the story took another heartbreaking turn. coming up -- >> and oh, so many days on set, i thought, "oh god, am i good enough? am i good enough? am i gonna get this done?"
go open up something interesting. go further. check out one of the hottest gift idebeats pill xltmas: now available with special financing when you use your walmart credit card. they're bluetooth enabled. so you can stream a song to one beats pill. and pair it with another beats pill for huge stereo sound. woah! dance off. whut? whoa! what? nothing. wooh, is the room spinning? no, just you. and now get special financing when you use your walmart credit card. more ways to christmas joy. walmart.
>> reporter: angelina jolie's afffection for louis zamperini only grew as the time went on. >> you learn about louis and louis's story and you see that here's an example of someone who was a rascal as a child, and certainly not a perfect human being, but tried and kept his head up and learned and stayed open to his fellow man and -- and made it through. he met challenge after challenge. >> reporter: after the war, louis got married to a beautiful debutante, cynthia applewhite. but his life was spinning out of control. >> he was drinking. he was having terrible flashbacks and nightmares. he's -- his bottom point was
waking up in the middle of the night in the midst of a dream in which he was strangling the bird, his nemesis, and realizing he was strangling his pregnant wife he had all the signs of what is today called post-traumatic stress disorder. ptsd. in 1949, his wife, at wits' end, forced him to go to a religious revival in downtown los angeles. the young preacher's name was billy graham. >> i do not believe that any man, that any man can solve the problems of life without jesus christ. >> but louis was in no mood to listen. >> the man was broken inside. his life was coming apart. he couldn't keep a job. he was getting ready to lose his wife. >> reporter: billy graham's son, rev. franklin graham. >> and at the end of my father's message, he invited people to come forward if they'd like to commit their lives to jesus christ and have their sins forgiven. >> and at that moment, louis had
a flashback of being on the raft. and in the raft that night, in this flashback, he felt rain falling on his face. and that was the moment he was able to let everything go and forgive. >> i just knew it. and i came home that night and that was the first night in over two and a half years i didn't have a nightmare. and i haven't had one since. >> reporter: within a year, louis travelled to japan to personally forgive the war criminals who abused him so badly. >> forgiveness can be very healing, especially for people who've gone through war. i hope it inspires and makes people feel better about life, because i think we need something like that. >> reporter: louis devoted his life to service. in the 1950's, he founded a retreat for troubled teens called the victory boys camp near los angeles. he was on the popular television show "this is your life." >> on that life raft somewhere
in the south pacific, lou made a vow that he would devote his life to god. >> reporter: louis wrote his autobiography, and sold the rights to universal in 1957. but for decades, the scripts piled up and the film was never made. he'd be spotted skiing in the mountains near los angeles or skateboarding around hollywood in his eighties. but his story was almost forgotten. then, in 2010, the success of laura hillenbrand's book "unbroken" brought new life to the movie project. but there were still many doubters. >> brad actually said to me, "oh, honey, that one's been around for a really long time," like, you know, with that -- with that kind of warning of -- >> yeah, right. >> that -- that one's pretty hard to do. >> reporter: but she would not let it go despite the scale of the project, and she had no expreience directing an epic, and had to prove herself. >> it took me a long time to get this job. i had to go in and pitch. and then i made all these boards. i took my glue and tape and i -- pictures off the internet, and i
put all my -- my boards in a garbage bag. and i carried them to universal myself and put 'em out. and i pitched my butt off. >> reporter: all the while angelina and brad stayed in close contact with louis. >> well he was crazy about her right away. and he would ask me to kinda take brad around the side of the house and -- and get rid of him so he could spend more time with angie. >> reporter: when angelina finally got the job, before filming began, she had the cast come to meet louis at his home. she had looked far and wide for the actor to play him and picked up and coming british actor jack o'connell. at the house that day, louis asked him to try on his world war two bomber jacket. >> there was a bit of an atmosphere when i put it on because it -- it did really fit me. so to be puttin' this bomber jacket on that was his, that he flew in, and for it to fit as well as it did and, you know, at the beginning of the whole process as well. it was quite symbolic i -- i thought.
>> reporter: for all the actors, the actual shoot was grueling. they had to lose and then gain weight. there were plane crashes and long scenes at sea and in the prisoner camps. but there was one cardinal rule on the set. >> i'd say to the actors, "well, you better -- you gotta sit out there. we're waitin' for a cloud cover." so they'd sit out in the raft in the sun for about a half an hour. we'd say, "you gotta wait." and then somebody would sooner or later say, "they did it for 47 days, we can do it for half an hour." so nobody was allowed to complain, you know, ever. and oh, so many days on set, i thought, "oh god, am i good enough? am i good enough? am i gonna get this done? am i -- am i gonna solve this -- this moment in this scene? and -- and the person that always i would call that would always make me feel better was louis. >> and he would tell you? >> and he'd say, "you can do this--" >> in no uncertain terms? >> in no uncertain terms. >> if you can take it, you can make it. you can do this.
you just have to believe you can. >> reporter: while filming on "unbroken" was wrapping up earlier this year louis was still traveling the country, telling his story. and then, at the end of may, louis caught pneumonia. angelina took a rough cut of the film to the hospital. >> and we sat in the quiet room, and watched him watch his life, together remembering and watching all that he had accomplished and all that he did, and at that time as a man of faith he was preparing to see his mother again, and pete and everyone in heaven. and so he would -- was watching it, not as a film, but as a, it was, like, it was like becoming one with them again. it was a beautiful experience. sadly in early july, louis zamperini died at the age of 97. louis really never give up. his time just ran out. angelina and brad were there with the family.
>> so you were there for them at every moment in the -- in the final hours, really, of -- of his life. >> yeah. we all came together. it's something we learned when my -- when my mom passed. sometimes it's really nice to -- to be with other people, and -- and be able to talk about and laugh about -- we played italian music. we spent time together. we talked, and -- and just told love stories about how much we adored this man, and little things about him we didn't know. and -- and -- as -- as we believe louis would have wanted it. >> reporter: coming up. >> i'm starting to think about it this year. and i'm sure i will go through it. and i'm sure whatever i learn from it, i'll share. >> that's a very big deal. >> yeah. yeah. and now, save without settling.
then boom... what happened? stress, fun, bad habits, kids, now what? let's build a new, smarter bed using the dualair chambers to sense your movement, heartbeat, breathing. introducing the sleep number bed with sleepiq™ technology. it tracks your sleep and tells you how to adjust for a good, better and an awesome night. the difference? try adjusting up or down you'll know cuz sleep iq™ tells you. give the gift of amazing sleep, only at a sleep number store. find our best buy rated c2 queen mattress with sleepiq. know better sleep with sleep number.
breath. >> films can have a big impact. what is it-- that you would like the country to say about this film? >> oh, god. right now it's so early i just don't wanna have failed louis. critical and commercial expectations are high. not just because of the film's megawatt director but because the story of the man who was the ultimate survivor and who found unyielding faith -- is so powerful. that power like louie's frequent visitor became a kind of life force for the author and helped director angelina jolie overcome her doubts. >> i didn't know if i was the best director for this, the right director for this, i didn't know. i didn't have the skill set going in to handle the -- all of the things it would take to make this film. but i was gonna learn, because i really, really cared. and that matters. and i really think his message is extremely important. important -- and indispensible to laura hillenbrand. she wrote "unbroken" as she
battled the debilitating effects of constant vertigo and exhaustion. >> how did he help you in your condition? >> louis was my lifeline for a long time. for two years, i never left my house because i couldn't walk far enough to get to my back gate. i mean there were times when it was hard to get my hands to the keyboard, or my hands to the telephone to call him. but i still kept going because if he got through what he got through, i could get through anything. >> you think the fact that you've been struggling with a really difficult situation as well helped you understand him? >> i think the fact that i had been in the pits of despair myself in my life, and up against something i thought was bigger than me, it helped me to understand him better and capture the texture of what his life had been like when it was at its worst. >> reporter: after louis read a "new yorker" article by laura about how severe her illness was -- he made a personal gesture. >> without saying anything to
me, he mailed me his purple heart. and he wrote on it, "i think you deserve this more than i do. and i was so touched, i was in tears and tried to give it back to him. and he said, "no, absolutely, it's yours." and that was the bond we had. after unbroken was published, louis flew out to the east coast to finally meet laura face to face. >> what did you learn from them in the course of making this film? >> oh. well, i learned a lot, during a time where i actually -- i actually went through -- a surgery myself, a personal -- health issue myself that i had, i suppose, in the back of my mind, knew i needed to address and had been putting off. she is referring to the radical preventative surgery she had last year after being diagnosed with a gene mutation that put her at high risk for breast cancer. >> and i think in learning about laura's health and laura's life and louis' strength, and all these people that -- that are determined to -- you do what's best and you do what's right for your family.
and you -- and you buck up and you move on. it helped me through that time >> after an agonizing choice, she had both breasts removed -- and underwent reconstructive surgery. then she revealed her decision in a "new york times" op- ed -- and became an inspiration to women all over the world. what became known in the media as "the angelina effect" soon followed. genetic testing among women in the us and overseas reportedly almost doubled in the months following her announcement. but now -- at age 39 -- she faces another tough choice. her mother died at 56 and her maternal grandmother at just 45. both were diagnosed with ovarian cancer. >> i have -- a high risk of ovarian cancer. she revealed she faces another preventative surgery i'm starting to think about it this year. and-- and-- preparing for what that would be, and i'll-- and i'll be very clear about it when i do, i'm sure i will go through it. and whatever i learn from it,
i'll share. and there's a lot to learn but i'm in the process of -- of getting that education of what that is, and what that does -- >> evaluation. yeah. >> -- and how to do it. and yeah. yeah. so i don't know when that will be, but -- >> that's a very big deal. >> yeah. yeah -- >> it's a big decision. but at the same time -- it's a deadly disease, ovarian cancer, you know -- i've decided, given my own experience, that there are those who don't have cancer, and they're sympathetic. those who have cancer, who are empathetic. no one knows what it's like until you get it. so what you do is very brave, i think, in so many ways. and it raises the alert level. >> wow. it's my pleasure to be able to communicate what i learn. and i'm, you know, we're both so fortunate. we have great health care. so. >> thank you. >> least we can do. >> reporter: and when we return --
>> there's a report that you were interested in going into politics at some point. ...the galleria of jewelry. we did it. we did it! ♪ it is official, we gave the people what they wanted. the nation's strongest lte signal. this is a big deal! soak it in! just let it wash over you like a warm bath. it's the purple pill, the #1 prescribed acid blocking brand,
this year we've been at the top of more awards list than any other car company... during the chevy year end event we hope to be put on yours. now during the chevy year end event, get the best offer of the year on this 2015 chevy malibu. find new roads at your local chevy dealer. to help spread some holiday cheer. before earning 1% cash back everywhere, every time; and 2% back at the grocery store. thank you! even before they got 3% back on gas, all with no hoops to jump through, a couple was inspired to use their bankamericard cash rewards credit card to throw the ultimate ugly sweater party of the season. that's the spirit of rewarding connections. apply online or at a bank of america near you.
>> reporter: angelina jolie has come a long way from when she first she burst onto the scene with an unconventional look and lifestyle. a child of hollywood, she won an oscar and took on leading roles in big budget movies. then, after traveling to cambodia for "lara croft: tomb raider" and witnessing third world poverty she turned her
attention to human suffering. >> hundreds and hundreds of people are dying every day. >> reporter: now, directing unbroken has made her more aware of the problems faced at home by many our -veterans-. >> i think we need to really help the young men and women that are out there today, and support them. and give them more respect. certainly -- not just when they come home; certainly when they come home but more respect when we choose to deploy them. >> reporter: just over a week ago, in los angeles nbc sister company universal pictures invited a group of veterans to a private screening of "unbroken." they were eager to share their thoughts about the picture, as louis's story reminded some of them of their own difficult wartime experiences. >> i don't know how he survived. i think i would have gone crazy it's a testament to who he is at his core. >> the message that they got across of forgiveness. i'm going to go home and think
about that tonight. >> if i can take it, i can make it. >> the message that stood out to me was -- no one can take away who you are and no one can break you. it's up to you to survive and prevail through it. and you can. louie did. it can be done. >> reporter: war is ultimately about life and death. but what does it take to be a survivor? who makes it and who doesn't? at new york's intrepid sea, air and space museum, admiral eric olson -- a legendary former navy seal who played a critical role in the famous "black hawk down" rescue mission says survival is a mix of will and cunning. >> i think it is overcoming challenge that makes one tougher. it's the tempering of steel. >> what is the dna of someone who can do what louie zamperini did. >> i think perhaps there is -- a dna characteristic that helps one tolerate pain and helps one recover. but i think most of it is psychological. so he was, very clever, very tough.
he'd been through life experiences that just made him tough. but also, i think importantly, gave him the confidence that he could get past some really tough things. >> when you read louie's story, were there times you just thought yourself, "oh my god." >> yeah, absolutely. i think very few people have ever been through that kind of dehumanization. >> reporter: wwii veteran clarence graham was actually in a japanese prison camp longer than louie. >> we were not considered as human beings. >> reporter: of the 27-thousand american pows in japan -- 40 percent died compared to one percent in german camps. clarence was a prisoner for three and a half years, surviving on only a small mound of rice for 12 hours while working in a condemned coalmine. >> could you tell, when you first got into these camps, who of your friends would survive, and those who probably wouldn't
make it? >> it was pretty obvious. somebody that had a outgoing personality, looked for the good, they had a good chance. but if you felt bad and like, you were being cheated or something you didn't have a chance, because you got depressed. and when you get depressed, you're health goes bad. if you didn't have your health, there was nothing you could do. that was it. >> you witnessed some terribly brutal acts. there was a filipino woman who wanted to give you some water. >> she got killed. she got bayoneted 'cause she tried to give me some water. right in front of you. >> yes, uh-huh. >> and what about your commander? >> well they asked him to bow, and he spit in their face, so they cut his head off. >> and were you witness to that? >> yep. it's something that's hard to swallow. >> reporter: dealing with that kind of brutality on screen angelina jolie faced some tough choices. she wanted a pg-13 rating but also wanted to depict the savagery of those camps. >> it is a very fine line.
all these things had to be carefully thought out. a lot of the beatings are actually off screen. so the audience can take it in. and it's not easy stuff to take in. >> reporter: and not easy to play especially for the japanese singer/songwiter miyavi. angelina needed him to reach deep to capture louis' psychopathic guard nicknamed the bird. now he is worried about the reaction at home. >> i'm kinda scared, 'cause it might break my career as a musician. but the message of this movie is really important. it's forgiveness. >> it will reopen probably, a lot of examination of the war conditions that existed, especially in japan, in prison camps. there were terrible camps in europe as well. but in japan, they took it to a whole different level. >> yes, the camps. but the film is not about -- the film is not anti- japanese. the film is not pointing a
finger. the film is louis' story, and louis' view of this war. and louis' relationship to japan was, in fact, in the end, quite a beautiful relationship. >> reporter: in fact in 1998 as a gesture of friendship, the japanese invited louis, who was then 81 to run with the olympic torch before the 1998 winter games in nagano. >> so they kind of came back together. and if we can understand that, that that's the essence of what this story is, then that's what this film should, in fact, be doing. >> reporter: but she knows that reconciliation is not easy after the atrocities of war. she recently teamed with former u.k. foreign secretary william hague in a campaign to end sexual violence in war. >> we can end the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war once and for all, we really can do it. >> reporter: in october she was honored by queen elizabeth for her efforts. >> did you ever think that you would be standing next to the queen of england who would be honoring you in that way. >> oh, absolutely not. no. it was just such a great honor. yes, it was a great honor. >> reporter: and with so much of
her life dedicated to public service now...the speculation is increasing. >> always have to check with you about what i read about you, because there's so much stuff from time to time. there was a report recently you're interested in going into politics at some point. something to that? >> it's not something that i'm actively seeking at this moment. it's still hard -- would be hard for me to imagine, however, if i found that i could be useful, i would consider it. >> reporter: and when we return -- can we get a little help? we've got pepsi! what if we just take like 15 minutes?
halfway through the game? they've got pepsi. so what do we call that? halftime. i like halftime. even the first halftime wasn't halftime without pepsi. see katy perry live at the pepsi superbowl 49 halftime show. this week, at kmart -- give the gift of joe boxer with up to 40% off men's and women's sleepwear. kmart. where members always get more.
get to t-mobile and knock out your gift list. with zero down and zero interest on the samsung galaxy note 4, the note 10.1, the gear s and more. the big guys job just got easier. too bad some cash back cards only let you earn bonus cash back at a few places. then those categories change every few months. sometimes it's drug stores, then it's hardware stores. nothing says "happy holidays" like a shovel. fortunately there's the quicksilver card from capital one. with quicksilver you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase every day. tis the season to ask... what's in your wallet?
hardest thing she's ever done. and the most gratifying -- >> and it's getting so much attention. what do you know now about that story, and about yourself, all these months afterwards, when you chose to direct a film that a lot of people said, "it's too tough for me"? >> i was reminded of that thing that i think we all know but don't often listen to, which is that if you really follow your -- you follow your true self, and you do what you do it for -- something for the right reasons, and you give it your best, that that -- that that counts. >> reporter: no doubt louis zamperini will be in her thoughts as she navigates the big decisions ahead whether she will have preventative ovarian surgery or what she will do in her career. >> and there's a report that you said that you'd like to give up acting. that you'd really like to go behind the camera now and kind of disappear from sight. >> i would love that. i would love that. there's a few more films i've loved acting. but when that's done, i will be
very, very happy to let the other actresses take -- take that side of life. and i'd be very happy behind the camera. >> been a very big year for you. you got married -- you were, living together, raising your children together, did it change? because your life really didn't. >> it did change. it was -- in just a feeling of -- that security and comfort that we always had. but that recommitting after ten years of being together and we were fortunate enough to be in that unusual situation where we got married with our children and they were part of the ceremony. and they wrote some of the vows. and so it was all of us agreeing to -- to be together, and to -- and -- and to have -- to re -- to just commit to this -- to this life together. not because we had to, not because anything was missing in our lives, because we were absolutely sure we felt that -- that much of a -- family. and it was that moment. so it was -- it was -- it was really lovely. it was a lovely day. >> so have you codified certain things? brad, now that we're married, you have to pick up your own socks in the morning. and if you think i'm gonna make
your coffee, you have another thing coming. >> no, i think we have more moments where i say, i'm gonna be a better -- i'm gonna be a better wife. i'm gonna learn to cook. and he says, oh honey, this -- >> give it up. >> -- like, just know what you're good at, know what you're not. but -- i think he -- he knows my -- he knows my limitations, and where i'm -- where i'm a good wife and a good -- mom. >> reporter: this summer, in malta, she directed and co-starred with brad in the upcoming film "by the sea." >> we all got to know the two of you -- in "mr. and mrs. smith." you've done another film with brad. is it hard working with your husband. >> i have. there's a really correct answer to this, i'm sure. it was actually great. it's a film about -- about a very troubled marriage. so felt like the appropriate thing to do on our honeymoon. >> there are so many parts to you. in fact, i was looking at "vanity fair" which they have you on the cover now, this stunning photo, and all this stuff inside. and they don't just call you awesome. they call you perfectly awesome angelina jolie. visiting war zones, directing an oscar contender, and life as mrs. pitt, they used the phrase,
not me. what are other parts of your life are unrealized for you at this point? i wanna make sure i raise my children right. i've got my first teenager. i've got five more to go. and i wanna -- i wanna make sure i'm -- i'm not living so fast and with so much that i'm missing the absolute essential part of life, which is just to be a mom, and -- and a good wife, and -- and a good friend. >> reporter: angelina still is travelling the world promoting "unbroken" and at the same time honoring the memory of her dear friend and neighbor. louis zamperini. >> and you have a continuing presence around your neck of him. >> yeah. i do. yeah. >> what is that? his old track shoe? it is. it's his -- 1940. it says zamperini on the bottom. and -- and you ran certain races, that was the -- the medal you got. you got the -- the gold shoe. and so he gave it to me to never forget him, which i couldn't anyway -- >> it's a silly thing for him to
even suggest that i could. >> but louis the person, do you still hear his voice and see him? >> uh-huh. >> and hear him saying, fight on? >> yeah. yeah. i do. he is that, in my -- dark hour, he's that very steady, calm parental, loving supportive voice. >> whatever situation i find myself in, i have a cheerful attitude at all times. attitude has a healing effect on the body, and it works for tracking what could be one of the strongest storms in years. >> accusing the service of doing
to you. bl >> does it look familiar to you? another night of third straight night as hundreds of people took to the freeways, blocking traffic again. this time highway 24 near 40 around 9:00 in the evening. protesters stopped occurs for 30 minutes and they were able to turn them out. intense moments as