In February 2009, we reported that Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) wanted to direct an adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi. The project had already passed through multiple directors including Dean Georgaris, M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuaron, and Jean-Pierre Jeneut. Then in October, we reported that Lee said Life of Pi would be his next film. Today, Indiewire reports that the project is now scouting locations Taiwan and Pondicherry, will be a big-budget film with a price tag of over $70 million, and will be a “3D magical fantasy adfventure crammed with visual effects.” This would be Lee’s first 3D film.
Life of Pi, in short, is about a child who shares a lifeboat with a hyena, an injured zebra, an orangutan and a hungry Bengal tiger. Hit the jump to read the official synopsis of the book and you’ll wonder how screenwriter David Magee (Finding Neverland) has managed to crack the script. Producer Elizabeth Gabler wants to begin filming this August for a 2012 release, but Fox hasn’t made a decision on whether to give the film the green light.
Here’s the official description from Amazon:
The son of a zookeeper, Pi Patel has an encyclopedic knowledge of animal behavior and a fervent love of stories. When Pi is sixteen, his family emigrates from India to North America aboard a Japanese cargo ship, along with their zoo animals bound for new homes.
The ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat, his only companions a hyena, an orangutan, a wounded zebra, and Richard Parker, a 450-pound Bengal tiger. Soon the tiger has dispatched all but Pi, whose fear, knowledge, and cunning allow him to coexist with Richard Parker for 227 days while lost at sea. When they finally reach the coast of Mexico, Richard Parker flees to the jungle, never to be seen again. The Japanese authorities who interrogate Pi refuse to believe his story and press him to tell them “the truth.” After hours of coercion, Pi tells a second story, a story much less fantastical, much more conventional–but is it more true?