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‘Life Of Pi’ Sails Into Oscar Race; Ang Lee Interview Plus Featurette: Video

By | Wednesday November 21, 2012 @ 2:15pm PST
Pete Hammond

Finally opening wide today after a 10-year journey to the screen, director Ang Lee‘s epic and groundbreaking movie about the trecherous ocean voyage of two survivors of a shipwreck – a young man and an imposing Bengal Tiger – represents an enormous gamble for distributor 20th Century Fox. Even Lee who has won Oscars for equally groundbreaking fare such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain initally did not think this reported $120 million film based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel was viable. “I read it 10 years ago. I thought nobody in their right mind would put up more than $15 million for this. It’s too risky, too philosophical a book although it has great adventure in the middle part, the ocean part, but it’s a thinking book. So I didn’t think it was artistically filmable or technically so,” he told me when he came to town last week for a series of well-attended promotional screenings for the WGA, PGA, SAG, DGA and the Academy which drew a strong crowd Sunday night.

Related: No Thanksgiving Break For Oscar Contenders

Lee wasn’t the only one who thought Life of Pi was unfilmable. Fox had been developing the picture with other filmmakers since aquiring the property in 2002 but until Lee got involved five years ago it was stalled. Even then it almost didn’t come together but the director prevailed in explaining his vision and the need to shoot it in 3D, his first time using that process. “I thought of 3D, that maybe with another dimension I could take a leap of faith. That was way before I knew what 3D was. It was a naive thought. Read More »

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Tobey Maguire Cast In ‘Life Of Pi’

Tobey Maguire has been cast in Ang Lee’s novel adaptation Life of Pi, the Fox movie that is shooting in India ahead of a December 2012 bow. Yann Martel’s bestseller centers on an Indian boy who escapes a shipwreck but is stranded on a life raft with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena and a tiger. Maguire will play a writer who interviews the boy as an adult. Maguire, who will play Nick Carraway in Baz Luhrmann’s 3D The Great Gatsby for Warner Bros, also appeared in the Lee-directed movies The Ice Storm and Ride With The Devil.

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Director Ang Lee Finds His ‘Life Of Pi’ Guy

By | Monday October 25, 2010 @ 7:38pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Director Ang Lee has completed a worldwide talent search for Life of Pi and has cast newcomer Suraj Sharma to play the lead role of 16-year old Pi Patel, a youth who gets stranded for 227 days through shark-infested waters aboard a 26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. The Fox 2000 film is a David Magee-scripted adaptation of Yann Martel’s Mann Booker Prize-winning novel about a kid who sets sail from Pondicherry, India on a freighter bound for Canada along with his father’s menagerie of zoo animals and gets stranded with those shipmates after an accident. I’m told that Sharma, a 17-year old student from Delhi, India, never acted before. He’s got quite a journey in front of him after Lee chose him after auditioning 3000 teenagers. The film will shoot in January.

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