Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE 4:15 PM: Here is Ang Lee’s statement about his departure from Tyrant.

It is with disappointment that I must confirm I have withdrawn from my commitment to direct the upcoming FX pilot Tyrant.

It is one of the most brilliant ideas for a series that I’ve seen and one about which I was very excited.

However, after spending over four years making and promoting Life Of Pi, I have recently realized that I need some rest .

Because I cannot give 100% to this exciting project at this time, I cannot allow myself to do anything that may affect the potential for this exciting new series.

I wish FOX 21 and FX the best with this remarkable project.

EXCLUSIVE 2:50 PM: Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has pulled out of directing high-profile FX drama pilot Tyrant, from Homeland executive producers Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff and Six Feet Under alum Craig Wright. Lee committed to Tyrant shortly after winning a second directing Oscar (and third overall) for Life Of Pi. But after 4 1/2 years devoted to making Life Of Pi, a year to promote it and another six months of Oscar campaigning, I hear Lee felt he didn’t have gas left in the tank. Additionally, he had made other previous commitments including his current role as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival. I hear Lee called Gordon this morning from Cannes. In a very emotional call, Lee informed him that, despite his best intentions, he wouldn’t be able to proceed because he he had hit a wall physically and mentally after a grueling last few years. Lee had been looking forward to Tyrant, the first pilot he had ever agreed to direct, and loved the script. He had looked at some scouting locations but was yet to begin actively working on the pilot. It is unclear yet where the project will film, with Morocco and Turkey among the locales discussed. Created by Raff and developed by Gordon and Wright, Tyrant tells the story of an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation. Gordon, Raff and Wright executive produce in association with Keshet Broadcasting. The Fox 21 project has a big commitment at FX and is expected to go to series.

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