Unbroken: real sound for a real story
Director Angelina Jolie tasked her audio post crew with keeping it as authentic as possible.
By Jennifer Walden
Unbroken is about the human spirit and just how hard it is to break. The film is based on the life of Louis Zamperini, which was chronicled by Laura Hillenbrand in her non-fiction novel
Unbroken. Zamperini, a delinquent youth transformed by his athletic prowess on the high school track team, went on to compete in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. But that was just the beginning of an amazing life.
As a second lieutenant in the US Air Force during WWII, he was deployed in the Pacific, first as a bombardier on the B-24 Liberator “Super Man,” and then again on a search-and-rescue mission aboard the engine-troubled B-24, “The Green Hornet.” After being lost at sea for 47 days, Zamperini was picked up by the Japanese Navy, where he survived hellish brutality as a POW, spending time in three different prison camps before finding his way home.
Director Angelina Jolie’s vision for the film Unbroken was to tell Zamperini’s real story with incredibly real sound. To accomplish this she turned to supervising sound editor Becky Sullivan from
StudioPost, located on the Universal Studios lot. Jolie and Sullivan previously worked together on Jolie’s directorial debut
In the Land of Blood and Honey, which was nominated for a 2012 MPSE Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing.
Sullivan brought fellow NBCUniversal StudioPost supervising sound editor Andrew DeCristofaro on to work on
Unbroken. Together, under the guidance of director Jolie, Sullivan and DeCristofaro tackled the film in sections. “What was really unique about this film was we that got to do many different movies within one,” explains DeCristofaro. “Usually, you have an overall tone for a film, like you’re in the Old West or in space, but in this film you have a variety of moments.”
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