Matt Baer produced the first Unbroken film in 2014, working with Angelina Jolie to tell the powerful story of tragedy, torture, survival and triumph. But we all knew there was another chapter.
I had the chance to interview Matt Baer in Nashville last month, and meeting him was a true delight. He had his own kind of story of redemption in the process to do right by the remarkable life story of Louis Zamperini.
“Lou’s story was so full; it wasn’t that we didn’t want to tell Lou’s story [in the first film], but I would not want to be a part of having that aspect of the story being told badly,” Baer told me.
I felt a rush of excitement for the next Unbroken film. I felt new compassion for the team that endured criticism for not telling the second half of the story. It was an honor to hear Baer’s professional and creative passion for doing justice to the whole life of Louis Zamperini.
Dove: How was the decision made to tell the first story the way you did?
Baer: In our opinion we could not venture into this, and do it the wrong way, because people’s frustration would be even bigger. A female lead would not come into the movie 2 hours into the film. Structurally there was no way to do that.”
Dove: It must have been frustrating to hear people complain and accuse the filmmakers of omitting the redemption story deliberately to hide it.
Baer: It was certainly frustrating to see and hear the audiences disappointment. I wanted to reach out to everyone who was disappointed. It’s not that we didn’t hear. It was that we needed to do it well.
Lou himself understood it was incredibly important to tell the story effectively. When he had survived the internment camp, that was the cinematic high of the story. Then to have him come home, and then continue the movie, it would feel completely wrong. Lou was 100% behind doing it the way we’d done it.”
Dove: You must pretty excited to unveil this redemption story on several levels!
Baer: For sure. This film tells the story if Lou’s and Cindy’s courage and Lou’s redemption that respects his legacy. We’ve done it the right way. And the audience will be very satisfied to have it be done the right way.
Enjoy this look at the film that hits theaters in October. My heart’s racing already.