A once in a lifetime experience
Few opportunities come along to be involved in an international film production. But Savannah Lamble, Year 12 student at Pymble Ladies College (PLC), who studied drama for the HSC and lists a number of theatre productions at PLC, TV commercials and short film direction on her CV, had just such an opportunity when she was cast in Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie. Insights interviewed Savannah before the world premiere of the film held in Sydney.
How did you come to play the role in Unbroken?
I play Sylvia Zamperini who is Louis’ (the main character Louis Zamperini) sister. I became involved in the production when my agent rang me and said that Angelina Jolie was directing the film Unbroken and was looking to cast some extra female parts. I went to the audition and all I had to call out was “Go Louis Go!”, pretending I was supporting Louis in a running race in an American accent. About three months later I got the call that I had the part! I was so excited because I auditioned as an extra and then heard that I had the part as Louis’ sister.
So what was it like working with Angelina Jolie?
Very surreal. She made us all feel so comfortable, so to have the very first film I’m in to be an Angelina Jolie film was just crazy. She was so welcoming and so excited to meet me and very comfortable around all the cast. She treated us as if we were professionals and at the same level as the rest of the cast. It was an amazing experience.
Where was the movie filmed?
It was filmed in Tamworth and then in Camden where they filmed the school scenes. We also spent a lot of time in Fox Studios where the set for the family home was built. In Tamworth we filmed the final scenes at the airport. I got to travel a bit with the production, which was an amazing experience on a film of that size and scale.
Had you read the book the film is based on?
I hadn’t read the book but family members had read it and loved it. As soon as I got the part I went and did the research and read the book. It is such an amazing story. Sadly, I didn’t get to meet the real Louis Zamperini (who passed away in July 2014). We would talk about the story on set with other cast members about some of the more gruelling scenes and things that he had to go through. It is such an incredible story and crazy to think that it actually happened.
What struck you most about Louis Zamperini’s story?
I think resilience and courage stand out the most because of all the things that happen to him and despite this he had the strength to carry on. Angelina wanted the story to be grounded in the family and have the point of the story be that he was trying to make his way back home and make them proud of his achievements. The main thing for me was Louis’ strength of will to get through the amazing obstacles to make his way back home.
Why would you like people to see Unbroken?
I would tell them to see it so they can see me! [laughs] But seriously, this is a true story, it isn’t your classic war story. It tells the story of one man who despite all the things that happened to him was an Olympic runner, was shot down during the war and interned in a POW camp then became this amazing American hero. Everyone should go and see it to carry on his legacy of courage, strength and resilience.