Studio News: Ang Lee casts lead in LIFE OF PI
Compiled by R. Kurt Osenlund, The Good Life film critic
Commented Yann Martel: "I'm thrilled that Ang is adapting LIFE OF PI to film. He's a brilliant, versatile director, with a stunning visual sensibility. He can capture the most intimate emotion as well as the most dynamic action. He's the perfect filmmaker to bring Pi’s epic journey to the screen”
Since Ang Lee came aboard the project at the end of 2008, he has worked to create a singular vision of Martel’s unforgettable tale. The all-audience experiential movie event will take us through a young man’s incredible adventure – at turns thrilling and spiritual; joyous and harrowing; humorous and tragic. Audiences will follow Pi Patel as he travels from an exotic zoo in India on a voyage across the Pacific, where he survives a shipwreck and is cast adrift in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger as his only company. Adrift in an endess expanse of ocean, Pi struggles to survive and train his companion, landing on a magical island that offers the two their only respite on their desperate journey.
Suraj Sharma, 17, is a student who lives with his mathematician parents in Delhi, India. He has no previous acting experience and was cast following an extensive, months-long search. Over 3000 young men auditioned for the part.
David Magee (“Finding Neverland”) adapted Martel’s book. Gil Netter (“Marley & Me,” “The Blind Side”) is producing. The director of photography is Claudio Miranda, who collaborated with David Fincher on several films, including “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Miranda recently shot “Tron: Legacy” in 3D. Avy Kaufman is the casting director.
Commented Ang Lee: “It has been a daunting and exciting process to develop a motion picture that brings Yann Martel’s fascinating, mind-boggling story to the big screen. Casting the sixteen-year old Pi was particularly challenging. We searched throughout India for a young man who had the innocence to capture our attention, the depth of character to break our hearts, and the physicality needed to embody Pi on his journey.
“Suraj is Pi,” Lee continued. “During his audition, he filled the room with emotion, much of which he conveyed simply through his eyes. His natural ability to believe and stay in the world of the story is a rare treasure.”
Elizabeth Gabler stated: “It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Ang Lee as he and his team brings this amazing film to life. We believe that LIFE OF PI, with its tremendous scope, groundbreaking visuals, and a story that embraces the triumph of the human spirit will be a cinematic event for audiences of all ages, all over the world.”
One of the world’s largest producers and distributors of motion pictures, Fox Filmed Entertainment produces, acquires and distributes motion pictures throughout the world. These motion pictures are produced or acquired by the following units of FFE: Twentieth Century Fox, Fox 2000 Pictures, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Fox International, and Twentieth Century Fox Animation.