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Exclusive: Ang Lee On Life Of Pi
It's (CGI) animal magic

30 October 2009  |  Written by Phil de Semlyen  

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As reported way back in the mists of February, Ang Lee has Yann Martel's magic-realist novel The Life Of Pi lined up for his next project. Things have moved on apace since then though with Lee confirming that he's submitted his script and is gearing up to kick off production. "It's in the process of setting up," the director told us. "I'm very excited about it, it's a big challenge."

While adapting Martel's novel of Indian boy Pi Patel, his shipwreck, and fight for survival in a rickety boat chock full of socially-averse wildlife, isn't one of movieland's simplest tasks, Lee reckons he's got it nailed. Most of it, at any rate. "I'm very happy just to crack the structure. I thought I had a breakthrough, so that was exciting enough for me, but how to make the movie, that's another story. I've got two years to worry about it.

While it's no great surprise that the Taiwanese maestro won't be cramming an actual zebra, tiger and hyena into a rowing boat and filming the ensuing carnage, he's happy to confirm that he will be using CGI.

"In the old days I think maybe you wouldn't have needed it, but nowadays the animal rights people wouldn't let you do it, so we've got to go more expensively. [There'll be] some supplementary CGI, I think."

And the ever laid-back Lee isn't overly worried about breaking all of the old Spielberg never-work-with-animals-or-water maxim. "That's what everybody says, but we keep going back to the ocean!"

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