First Footage From Life Of Pi

Mighty anthromorphing from Ang Lee

Life Of Pi is a film we've been intrigued by since its inception. As Ang Lee explained when Empire spoke to him on the Taking Woodstock press tour, his adaptation of Yann Martel's novel melds CG and in-camera work to create an environment that's both real and entirely fantastical. Magical and realist, if you like.

20th Century Fox have high hopes for it - not least because of the director's Oscar pedigree - and have started unveiling glimpses of the end result, starting with this snippet and a longer clip that's showing before 3D, non-IMAX screenings of Prometheus.

The film's website also reveals other, pastel-flavoured Pi flibberty-gibbets. These include a look at the raft Suraj Sharma's character, Pi Patel, hastily improvises, presumably to avoid waking up sandwiched between a Bengali tiger and the business end of an orangutan.

Lee, who picked the young Indian actor from 3000 hopefuls, admits that his lead couldn't actually swim when he cast him. Considering that his character spends 227 days adrift on a lifeboat with only that tiger, an orangutan, a hyena and a zebra for company, Pi's fretful look in this picture starts to make a lot of sense.

Released in the UK on December 21, Life Of Pi will be putting a tiger in your tank this Christmas time. If you're in America, you'll be able see it from November 21. A trailer shouldn't be far away, but here's more Pi goodness from Lee in the meantime.