Angelina Jolie 'didn't eat much' in sympathy with actors who had to lose weight for Unbroken

The director also tried out stunts while filming the story of Louis Zamperini, much of which takes place in a Japanese World War II POW camp

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The Independent Culture

Plenty of actors from Matthew McConaughey to Renee Zellweger have undergone dramatic weight-loss for a role. But how many film directors would deny themselves food in sympathy with their cast as Angelina Jolie is said to have done while filming Unbroken?

The Oscar-winning actress-turned-director “didn’t eat much” on the set of her war film as she wanted to support the actors who were playing prisoner of war inmates and who had to lose weight in order to appear authentic.

"She came to the set every day, giving advice to the actors, and she actually didn't eat much [either],"Japanese pop star Miyavi, real name Takamasa Ishihara, who stars in the film as ruthless prison guard Matsuhiro Watanabe, told the Radio

"She was so thin because most of the actors were not able to eat because they're prisoners in the camp. So she was close to us.”

Unbroken is about Olympic runner and US airman Louis Zamperini who spent 47 days living on a raft after a plane crash and survived two years as a Japanese prisoner of war.

Jack O’Connell, who plays Zamperini, was among the actors who had to lose weight for the film.

Miyavi said Jolie also tried out all his stunts before he did, including holding a heavy wooden plank above her head.

He has previously spoken about the physical and emotional toll the film – his debut as an actor – had taken on him, saying he passed out twice, vomited and “couldn’t stop crying”.

He was encouraged by Jolie to immerse himself into the mindset of a man accustomed and desensitised to violence. In one scene, Miyavi's character brutally beats Zamperini.

"It was awful torture for me to hate the other actors," the 33-year-old told Vanity Fair. "I had to have hatred for them. When I had to beat them, I had to think about protecting my family.

"At the same time, I didn't want to be just a bad guy. I wanted to put humanity in this role. [Matsuhiro] was both crazy and sadistic, but also weak and traumatised."

Jolie signalled earlier this year that she is moving away from appearing in films in favour of directing them.

Her appearance as Cleopatra in an impending biopic of the Egyptian queen is likely to be her last acting role.

“It's one of those [roles] that you think maybe that's the one you put everything into and that's where you end it, that's where you finish - in a great way. What could you do beyond that one?" she said, speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, in June.

Jolie, who met Zamperini shortly before his death at the age of 97 last year, fought to make the film, the rights of which were sold to Universal Pictures more than 50 years ago.

When the director told her husband, the actor Brad Pitt, that she was interested in the script, he said: “’Oh, honey, that project has been around forever.’ ”

Jolie said: “I fought for it for months... I felt I needed to go on that journey, that it would make me a better person if I could. I was begging not only to be the director— I was begging to have the opportunity to spend two years of my life focused on Louie Zamperini.”