Angelina Jolie was surprised to learn the subject of her new movie Unbroken lived next door to her in California.

The Salt star was shocked to discover that Olympian-turned-World War Ii hero Louis Zamperini was a neighbour when she first requested a meeting with the 97 year old after her latest directorial venture was given the go ahead.

She tells U.S. breakfast show Today, "(I said), 'Where is he? Is he around?' I think someone said, 'He knows where you live'.

"I can show you my roof from the window (in his house) and I can imagine that for the past 10-something years he's been sitting there having a coffee in the morning and wondering, 'Who's going to make this movie (about my life)?' and I've been sitting in my room thinking, 'What am I supposed to be doing with my life? I want to do something important, I want to connect, I need guidance, where is it?' And it was right outside my window."