Ang Lee talks about risks, spirituality of "Life of Pi"

Fri Nov 23, 2012 6:19pm EST
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gay cowboy drama "Brokeback Mountain" may have been considered a risky film to make, but director Ang Lee said his new movie, "Life of Pi," a 3D exploration of faith about a boy stranded on a boat with a Bengal tiger, is his riskiest yet.

The film, which was released in U.S. theaters this week, is adapted from Yann Martel's best-selling novel of the same name and was once considered impossible to make.

Oscar-winning Taiwanese director Lee, 58, took on the laborious task of using computer-generated imagery to bring the sensational plot to the big screen, taking a year and a half just to edit the film together.

The director talked to Reuters about the film's themes, technical barriers and casting an unknown actor in the lead.

Q. Why was "Life of Pi" considered unfilmable?

A. "Because you cannot make the tiger do everything you want to do, you have to use digital. A digital animal, up until two years ago, was not totally realistic yet, let alone in 3D, and then water is pretty difficult."

Q. Was this your most difficult filming experience yet?

A. "Oh yes. And it was also the longest...there was the technical difficulty and then it is a big movie. And it was across continents, I finally decided to shoot most of it in Taiwan, but we also had to go to India to shoot for two to three weeks. Because you can't fake Pondicherry, and Munnar. And then we have scenes in Canada."   Continued...

Director Ang Lee (L) and actor Suraj Sharma (R) attend a special screening of the film "The Life of Pi" in Los Angeles November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Phil McCarten