Samuel Hunt

Samuel Hunt is Louis Zamperini in UNBROKEN Path to Redemption

According to the family of Louis Zamperini, an important part of his story still needs to be shared. The Angelina Jolie-directed film Unbroken, captured a good portion of his life in the Olympics, lost at sea, and in the Japanese POW camps, but very little about his faith. This year a sequel, Unbroken: Path to Redemption, will hit theaters starring Samuel Hunt as Zamperini. The 31-year-old was eager to explore the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), marriage to Cynthia and of course the infamous Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles that would forever change his life. Risen sat down on set with Hunt to learn more.

Interviewed for Risen Magazine on the film set in Pomona, California

Risen Magazine: What was the most intriguing part of telling this story? What were you most interested in portraying on screen?
Samuel Hunt: It’s hard to say. Looking at the human being that you’re stepping in the shoes of is more than you can ask for. Any actor who doesn’t get excited about that, I wouldn’t trust them. It’s true though. You look at the person and who he is as a human, and his experiences in his journey, being able to tell part of that story is why you start acting in the first place. And also, period pieces are super fun.

RM: Something new we’ll see on-screen is the relationship Louis has with his wife. What are some of the stronger nuggets that we could take away from their marriage?
SH: Absolutely. I’m a firm believer that we wouldn’t have gotten the Lou that we’ve come to admire so much without Cynthia. There is a good chance that we would have heard his story, and then heard about the tragedy of what happens and survival, but there certainly would not be all the change from the work that he did with children and the work that he’s done for the telling of his story. Without Cynthia, I personally doubt very much that any of us would have been able to have that as something to draw from. She is as much part of this experience and this journey, and Lou, as anything.

RM: Hearing his story, you can’t help but think about the people you come in contact with and how you’re impacting them. For you, what did your reflection look like? Did it shift or confirm any of the things you’re doing?
SH: Yeah, absolutely. When I’m in Los Angeles I’m really fortunate to have some really wonderful people in my life. Some friends that I’ve had now for the last ten years that I consider family. This one friend in particular, he’s probably one of my closest friends – I was best man at his wedding. As twenty-somethings, we sold all of our possessions and went to Europe. Then there was a moment where we drifted pretty far apart. But what happened shortly after I got this part, we hadn’t spoken in about a year-and-a-half and he called me and he said, “Man, I’m getting married in Mexico.” His wife is Mexican. “I’m getting married. It’s in Mexico. I need you to come down here and be my best man.” This is after not a word in almost two years. I said, “Okay. I’m coming.” That decision, in that moment, for him to ask me and for me to say yes, has been one of the most influential decisions of my life; because the number of times he’s supported me and they’ve supported me, is immeasurable.

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