The film tells the incredible true story of Lou Zamperini, a former runner in the 1936 Berlin Olympics whose Air Force plane crashed in the Pacific. Zamperini survived the crash and lived for 47 days without food and water -- and fending off shark and aerial attacks -- only to wash ashore on a Japanese island and being held captive for two years an tortured by his enemy captors.
The story is based on Laura Hillenbrand's best-selling novel "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption."
Hedlund will star opposite British actor Jack O'Connell, who is playing Zamperini.
Sources tell Variety that Hedlund, who has starred in such films as "Tron: Legacy" and "On the Road," had long been interested in playing Zamperini. Even though the role went to O'Connell, the trade publication said, Hedlund was still interested in joining the film in some way.
The Coens are currently working on the third draft of the "Unbroken" script.
"Unbroken" is set for a Dec. 25, 2014, release.