Ang Lee's Life of Pi Adaptation on Hold Over Budget Concerns
Just as production on Bryan Singer's Jack the Giant Killer has been delayed until February 2011, we now have word from 24 Frames that Ang Lee's gestating adaptation of Yann Martel's prize-winning book The Life of Pi (which was looking to start shooting this August) won't be moving forward on production until Lee and producer Gil Netter reduce the film's budget. Last we heard via indieWIRE, the budget was around $70 million but apparently that's just too high for Fox 2000. The good news that is Lee and Netter can still reconfigure the budget, the bad news is plenty of people before them have failed to get this off the ground.
This story of a boy named Pi who finds himself trapped on a boat with a tiger after a shipwreck sees many other animals perish is just too hard to shoot and not be expensive. Other big name directors like M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuaron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet have worked on various versions of an adaptation only to have them fall apart. Of course, trying to keep the budget low when there are so many visual effects shots involving CG animals and a setting that is mostly on water is the biggest issue. Aside from that, execs don't think they're going to have an easy time marketing this (hence trying to make it as inexpensive as possible just in case it fails) because it's "exactly the kind of specialized, non-tentpole movie that nearly all studios are staying away from these days." I hope they can reconfigure the budget without sacrificing too much.
We'll definitely keep you update on this project and any other Ang Lee project that's in the works. For now it sounds like it'll be a while before we have anything to report. Who was really looking forward to it?