Life Of Pi Premiere Report

Ang Lee brings his animal magic to town

Last night, Ang Lee's marvellous Life Of Pi transformed that bit of Leicester Square between the burger place and the chocolate megastore into a mystique-filled corner of the Occident, a fittingly evocative backdrop for the filmmaker and his cast to talk lifeboats, moviemaking and tigers with assembled fans and reporters.

A perfect spot for a tiger, a zebra, a hyena and an orang-utan to spend the evening, no? Alas not, but Lee, Rafe Spall and the star of the show, 19 year-old newcomer Suraj Sharma, castaway Pi in the movie, put on a show for the crowds. Click below for the highlights.

For those who haven't encountered Yann Martel's novel, Life Of Pi follows Pi (Sharma) through a ferocious shipwreck that drowns his family, leaving him drifting for weeks in a lifeboat with the dubious company of a vicious tiger as both fight for survival.

Even in a year in which a suspicious number of 'unfilmable' novels have been filmed, Lee's take on Martel books has earned its London bow the hard way - as the Taiwanese director explained inside the auditorium. "I didn't think we could make the book into a movie," he grinned. "A boy and a tiger adrift in the Pacific... and without Tom Hanks."

See for yourself when Life Of Pi washes up on December 20.