‘Life of Pi’ Featurette: How Ang Lee Turned An ‘Unfilmable’ Novel Into a 3D Movie

Published 3 years ago by

Next week’s Cloud Atlas is based on a novel that was long-considered ‘unfilmable,’ due to its dense structure and sprawling timeline. Ang Lee’s Life of Pi is another fast-approaching movie based on a book that does not easily lend itself to a cinematic interpretation, but for different reasons; namely, most of Yann Martel’s award-winning source material revolves around a teenager and tiger stuck together on a crumbling raft in the middle of the ocean.

Several noteworthy filmmakers were, at different points in time, attached to take on the project over the past decade (including Alfonso Cuarón, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and M. Night Shyamalan), but Lee’s the only one to follow through. Lee’s decision to assemble a purely international cast should please Life of Pi purists; however, his choice to shoot the film with 3D cameras might inspire more caution than joy.

In a new featurette on Life of Pi, Lee explains that he felt the book (which Mann admits he thought was unfilmable while writing it) is so grand in scope and full of wondrous imagery that the film adaptation literally needed ‘another dimension’ in order to fully convey all that on the big screen. Hence, Lee collaborated with such people as Oscar-nominated cinematographer Claudio Miranda (TRON: Legacy) and stereoscopic compositor Tara Marie Jacobson (Transformers: Dark of the Moon), in order to take full advantage of the 3D technology.

The results, as teased in trailer footage, are something to admire, all the more so when viewed in 3D up on the big screen. Life of Pi could follow in the footsteps of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, serving as an example of how a talented storyteller can use the 3D format to genuinely enhance the viewing experience (Life of Pi will hit theaters almost exactly one year after Hugo was released – coincidence?).

life pi movie featurette Life of Pi Featurette: How Ang Lee Turned An Unfilmable Novel Into a 3D Movie

Suraj Sharma in ‘Life of Pi’

Here is an official synopsis for Life of Pi:

Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) creates a groundbreaking movie event about a young man who survives a tragic disaster at sea and is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While marooned on a lifeboat, he forms an amazing and unexpected connection with the ship’s only other survivor — a fearsome Bengal tiger.

The cast includes newcomer Suraj Sharma, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Irrfan Khan (The Amazing Spider-Man), and Rafe Spall (Prometheus). Mann’s source novel was adapted by Oscar-nominee David Magee (Finding Neverland, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day).

Look for Life of Pi in U.S. theaters on November 21st, 2012.


Source: MSN

TAGS: Life of pi
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  1. Never seen any trailers or anything, but knowing it is directed by Ang Lee makes me not want to see this movie… Sorry to be racist to my own race, but it seems that most of the Chinese directors that cross over to American films bring the worst parts of Asian story-telling with them. And that’s this idea that you have to over-exaggerate the drama, and to me, that’s really really annoying…

    • I think its a fair assessment, people can say what they want but brokeback mountain is a great film, and life of pi looks like a visual treat idk how the story telling Will go.

    • i mean i´m not a fan of him, but he makes movies about different themes. nothing stereotypical for example -john woo- or – corey yuen-. and the asian movies and storytellings are respected and have an international audience. so, i don´t understand your frustration about that.

    • He’s not exactly considered the Chinese-director-that-crosses-over-to-American-films that you think he is. He’s actually very Americanized in his style and he’s considered an American director by mainstream Hollywood. After all, he’s known for things like “Sense and Sensibility”, “Hulk”, and “Brokeback Mountain” which aren’t exactly Chinese movies. Even his “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has been criticized for being too “Westernized” and it was less successful in Asia than it was in North America. I recommend that you check out his movies before you make those assumptions. He’s no Zhang Yimou.

      • Um, I know what movies he’s done, and I’ve seen many of them, and don’t like any of them… Hulk was terrible, come on, tell the truth, it had Hulk dogs, Hulk cries, and the last fight made absolutely no sense. And I never said anything about making Chinese movies, saying those movies are not exactly Chinese movies proves nothing. I’m saying the one aspect about Chinese cinema that Chinese directors tend to bring into their NON-CHINESE movies, such as Hulk and Brokeback Mountain, is an over-exaggeration on the drama. That’s one thing about a lot of Chinese movies that I really don’t like, and when those directors make American movies, they tend to bring that cheese with them… They also tend to try too hard to squeeze some “artsy” thing into all of their movies, which also annoys me… Chinese directors tend to seem to try too hard to express the “look, I’m sophisticated” message with all of their movies… Don’t get me wrong, I like a lot of Chinese movies, but it’s just awkward to watch a non-Chinese movie with some of those weirder elements mixed into them…

  2. Sounds like one of those pretentious little films that win a lot of awards at foreign film festivals. Should be right up Angs alley. He’s basically an indie film maker who somehow stumbled into the big time. This will be a nice little film for him to keep busy with so he won’t be bollixing up big budget blockbuster type films.