Ang Lee Boards The 3D Boat

For Yann Martel Adaptation Life of Pi

Ang Lee Boards The 3D Boat

by Owen Williams |
Published on

Yann Martel's Booker Prize-winning Life of Pi has defeated a number of screnwriters and directors over the last decade: not least Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Alfonso Cuaron and M. Night Shyamalan. Ang Lee finally revealed that he believed he'd cracked the project last autumn, and Indiewire today have some details about the intended size and shape of the film.

There's still no official greenlight from studio Fox, but what's being pitched by Lee and his producer Gil Netter is "a 3D magical fantasy adventure, crammed with visual effects", with a budget somewhere north of $70m.

Lee had already confirmed a large CGI component to Life of Pi (which places a small boy in a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena and a Bengal tiger following a shipwreck) in an interview with Empire last October: "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."

Fox's Elizabeth Gabler has now chimed in with "it has a gigantic visual effects component: you can’t put a live tiger in a boat with a child", and it's been confirmed that locations are being scouted in Taiwan and Southern India.

We can see the need for CGI animals on a purely practical level: wrangling children and animals at sea contravenes at least three of the unwritten rules of filmmaking (don't work with children and animals, and stay out of the water). But the elegiac source novel isn't one that obviously lends itself to an all-singing, all-dancing 3D extravaganza, so the added dimension is intriguing. Lee clearly has a more lyrical, less wham-bam use in mind for the technology than we've seen so far. Unless it's just that it's impossible now to get the go-ahead on an expensive film without it.

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