Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
Empire's New Tom Cruise Cover
The Jameson Empire Awards 2014
Vote: The Greatest 301 Movies Of All Time!
Rebecca Hall:
My Movie Life

The actress picks the movies that shaped her
Mountain Dew Green Screen
Register now to see X-Men: First Class!
Interview

RELATED INTERVIEWS
Hollywood's VFX Crisis - Update
Exclusive: Scott Squires on the situation
More Interviews

RELATED REVIEWS
Life Of Pi (2012)
Empire Star Rating
More new cinemas releases
DVD & Blu-ray releases

Suraj Sharma Talks Life Of Pi
'I took on something I never thought I'd be able to do'

submit to reddit

Empire chatted with Life Of Pi star Suraj Sharma, who at the age of 17 was chosen from over 3000 candidates to play Pi, the young Indian boy whose physical and spiritual adventures, marooned on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker, Ang Lee's film chronicles.

Suraj Sharma Talks Life Of Pi

So, could you survive if you were shipwrecked at sea - with or without a huge tiger on board?
No, I know I couldn’t. That's one of the things the film taught me (laughs).

Did you read the book before you were cast?
Most books don’t go that deep. It’s like a raw piece of flesh being poked, and it’s horrible. But it’s good horrible.
I read it between the third and fourth auditions. And it really, really bothered me.

In what way?
It probes parts of being human that we are all very uncomfortable with. Everyone has a conflict inside of them - the conflict between what you should do and what you want to do. It’s about why we have religion in the first place; why we need that belief, why we can’t be content with ourselves as we are. Most books don’t go that deep, It’s like a raw piece of flesh being poked, and it’s horrible. But it’s good horrible.

For most of the movie you’re acting to nothing but green screen. How did you prepare for that?
The first three months was just training [and] I had to learn how to swim. I’d never been near the ocean so I had to learn what that’s like, learning about fishing, about isolation, about rope, about tigers, learning how to hold my breath. There was a lot going on, but through that I became extremely comfortable with Ang and with the crew. I felt like I was ready to take on something I never thought I’d be able to.

Still, how hard is it to envision the fact that you’re on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with a tiger for company?
Well, first of all, we took over an abandoned airport in Taiwan, cut up the runway and build the biggest wave-making tank in the world. Then we got four tigers, three from France and one from Canada, and we trained them. So I would watch these tigers every day moving around on the boat, reacting with the movement of the boat and with the humans on the boat. So you get an idea of how a tiger is going to be in that situation. And I watched videos of tigers on YouTube, which helped a little. Obviously I listened to Ang, and everything just came together. Every time I got onto the boat, right from the beginning, I’d think, "Okay, Richard Parker is over there so I probably shouldn’t go on that side." You end up brainwashing yourself to think, "You are Richard Parker and I can see you." It got more strange when we started shooting because then you’re looking at point on the camera and imagining that to be a tiger, which is weird. But you do it for so long it becomes as if the tiger is really there. Plus, you’re imagining everything, not just the tiger.

Suraj Sharma Talks Life Of Pi

How did you feel when you saw the movie for the first time - the reality of what Ang Lee created versus what you imagined?
Unbelievable. I couldn’t understand how I was part of it, I didn’t get it. I was scared; I honestly didn’t want to watch it because making it was so special to me. First of all I didn’t want to see it because of the memories, both good and bad. There were moments when I reached this very dark, intense state that I didn’t want to be reminded of. And because making it was so special, I didn’t want the movie to ruin that in any way. Also I was sitting next to (novelist) Yann Martel. So no pressure there! (laughs).

Did he like it?
He did. And he didn’t say anything bad about me, which was great.

Life Of Pi is in cinemas on December 20.

Interview by Simon Braund


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Video: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann And Kate Upton Talk The Other Woman
Prepare your mind for the concept of 'dog ball plumage'

Empire 300th Issue: The Directors' Cut
Spielberg, Whedon, Fincher, Abrams Mann and more take over

The Best Barry Norman Anecdotes From His Empire Podcast Interview
From nearly punching Robert De Niro to the real story about ‘And why not?’

Fired! Losing Your Job In The Movies
The lowdown on getting dismissed on film

20 Not So Super '-Men' That Won't Star In A Film Any Time Soon
Forget your Batmen, your Spider-Men and your Ant-Men… Meet 3-D Man (and his pals)

The Making Of Locke: A Filmmaker's Journey
Steven Knight takes us through six pitstops (via Heston Services)

Tom Hardy: A Viewer's Guide
The essential, the recommended, the one for the fans... and the one to avoid

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get Limited Edition Collectable X-Men Art Cards

Subscribe today and get 6 issues of Empire plus a set of collectable X-Men Art Cards for only £20!

Subscribe today

Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Just £25
Receive limited edition subscribers-only covers every month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)