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Jack O'Connell, Angelina Jolie

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

If you're a a rising star in Hollywood, there's no one better to get advice from than Angelina Jolie.

"She's a very selfless individual," says Jack O'Connell, the 24-year-old actor who stars in Unbroken, the much-anticipated real-life World War II drama directed by Jolie. "That's one trait I hope to inherit from her."

I caught up with O'Connell at the Hollywood Film Awards, where Jolie presented him with the New Hollywood Award.

"She knows where my priorities are," O'Connell said. "She knows I have a good relationship with my mom and that's very important to her."

O'Connell has seen the film twice. The first time was a rough cut with Jolie by his side.

Unbroken, Trailer

Universal Pictures

"I've just seen in it in all its glory this week," O'Connell said. "I think we did it, man. I really think we did it. There was a lot to cover, a lot to achieve and I think we did it. In the edit, Angie has turned it into an epic film."

As a director, O'Connell gushed, Jolie "is very compassionate. She approaches everything like an equal and is thoughtful. She knows what it takes."

O'Connell cracked that he would have babysat Brangelina's kids, but he wasn't asked. "It probably would have been the last thing I would have done on that job," he said with a smile.

O'Connell stars in Unbroken as Louis "Louie" Zamperini, an American Olympic track star who spent more than two and a half years as a POW when he was captured by Japanese forces after spending 47 days drifting on a raft in the ocean.

Marc Malkin, Instagram


It's based on Laura Hillenbrand's bestseller, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption.

Unbroken is set for release on Dec. 25.

During her introduction at the Film Awards, Jolie said Zamperini approved of O'Connell's casting. "I showed [that] audition tape to Louis, and he smiled," she said. "As a director, to have Jack in front of your lens is a gift. He makes every moment honest."

O'Connell, bowing and pointing his arm in Jolie's direction, said, "Angelina, my esteemed boss, and good friend, her ladyship, through whose unconditional support and dedicated leadership I was capable of portraying our hero under her captaincy. So, Angelina, thank you."

Following Unbroken, O'Connell will be seen in '71, an indie drama about a British soldier who is accidentally abandoned by his unit during a riot in Belfast in 1971.