Jack O’Connell was asked to speak in a different accent when he met Louis Zamperini for the first time. The British actor was asked to speak in an American accent in case the Olympic distance runner, whom he portrays in Angelina Jolie’s latest movie Unbroken, couldn’t understand him, but the request left Jack feeling ”uneasy” and ”intrusive.”
He said: ”I was quite frustrated, it became the studio’s meeting, all on film under the lights in his living room. I sensed he felt uneasy, and it made me feel intrusive so I gained very little from it. I was even asked, would I speak in an American accent, to give him a chance of understanding me, and I thought, what are we dealing with here? How’s about I just give a clear version of my accent, which does exist, by the way, America? I was wrestling with that a little bit… as you may be able to tell.”
But Jack’s second and third meetings with the late World War II prisoner of war survivor – who died from pneumonia in July this year aged 97 – were much more productive.
He said: ”He got his notebook out and some of his memorabilia, and his family were so welcoming, so I felt I had their seal of approval. So I was in Australia having known this fellow, and trying to pay tribute with this film.”
What’s more, on the film set Jack was extremely impressive with just how well Angelina carried herself especially under the intense heat that came with shooting in Australia. He added to The Huffington Post UK: ””She wanted the best for both of us, and she stuck with that right through. I saw her excel herself every day on that set, while engaging with everyone throughout the crew as a total equal, under that pressure and in that sort of Australian heat. It’s very difficult to keep your manners, I guess, but she did it all effortlessly, which kind of makes me feel like no one else has any excuses. She pitched the role of Louis to me, and I pitched my adoration for the men of Louis’ generation, and I think she responded to that.”