Ang Lee's Take on 'Life of Pi' Now Has Funding and Lead Actor
Back in May, we heard that Ang Lee's gestating adaptation of Yann Martel's prize-winning book The Life of Pi, which was looking to start shooting this year, had been delayed due to budget concerns. Now USA Today reports Fox 2000 has worked through all their qualms and decided to fund the $50 million+ feature which will be Lee's first 3D film. In addition to finalizing funding, Lee has also locked down newcomer Suraj Sharma (above right) for the title role of Pi Patel, the young Indian boy who's the lone survivor of a sunken freighter and winds up sharing a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger.
As for the fresh talent leading the film, Suraj Sharma is a 17 year-old Delhi high school student who acted once in a school play, but had the chops to beat out 3,000 other teenage boys who auditioned for the role. Lee said, "He read one complex scene, and by the end he was crying. We all were." Once again the script comes from Finding Neverland writer David Magee and will feature plenty of CG animals accompanying Pi on his 227 day journey lost on the ocean in a lifeboat. Production is slated to begin in January with shooting taking place in Taiwan and India.
In addition the film will be shot natively in 3D which may result in some seasick theater-goers. The high budget seems like a risk for such a hard story to translate to the big screen, but the premium price for a 3D ticket will help Fox get their money back when the film hits theaters on December 14th, 2012. In addition, Lee says the though of shooting in 3D helped him connect to the story more, "It's expensive to shoot in 3D. I know it's a great burden on me, but the story kept haunting me, and 3-D was the way for me to crack the book." I'm not sure what that means exactly, but we'll just let him run with it for now. Excited to see Life of Pi finally heading to theaters?