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'Unbroken' Follow-Up Stars Billy Graham's Grandson, Highlights Zamperini's Faith

09-06-2017
Photo Credit: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

The role of Billy Graham in a follow-up to the movie "Unbroken" will be played by the famous evangelist's grandson, Will Graham. 

Filming for "Unbroken: Path to Redemption" started Tuesday at Universal City in southern California. 

This new tale highlights the faith of Louis "Louie" Zamperini, something that "Unbroken" director Angelina Jolie did very little of – failing to mention Billy Graham's influence or even Jesus.

In "Unbroken," Laura Hillenbrand's popular book, she shares how Zamperini agreed to attend a 1949 crusade in Los Angeles featuring a young Billy Graham.

At that point, Zamperini was struggling with alcoholism and bouts of post-traumatic stress following his time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp.

The crusade ended up being a turning point for him – he credits it for saving his sanity and his marriage.

"Audiences have long wanted to see the 'second part' of Louie Zamperini's story brought to life," the upcoming film's executive producer, Bill Reeves, said in a news release Tuesday. "How he found redemption, overcame deep personal struggles and ultimately forgave his captors makes for an inspiring, beautiful film."

Will Graham is also an evangelist for the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was tapped to play the role of his grandfather in the film.

"Like my father and grandfather before me, I'm blessed to have been able to answer a call to evangelism," said the younger Graham, whose father is evangelist Franklin Graham, in a news release. 

"But knowing how God used Billy Graham in Louie Zamperini's life, I couldn't pass the opportunity to portray him in this inspiring story."

The director of "Unbroken: Path to Redemption," is Harold Cronk who previously directed both "God's Not Dead" and "God's Not Dead 2."

Zamperini continued to speak about the impact of Billy Graham and his crusades throughout his life.

In 2011, he told the Charlotte Observer, "Billy Graham's message hit me between the eyes. Instead of leaving, I went back to the prayer room. And man, when I made a confession of my faith in Christ, I knew my whole life had changed. ...That was the first night in three years that I didn't have a nightmare. I haven't had one since."

Zamperini died in 2014 at the age of 97. 
 

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