Ang Lee’s 3D Adaptation of LIFE OF PI Struggles to Stay Afloat

     May 28, 2010

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An adaptation of Yann Martel’s acclaimed novel Life of Pi has been in development for years now, but it seemed like its cinematic reality was imminent.  Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) was on board to direct to the would-be 3D picture with an allotted $70 million budget, and persistent producer Elizabeth Gabler was targeting an August shoot for a 2012 release.

And yet, 24 Frames reports that it appears the project has been put on hold.  Until Lee and producer Gil Netter can find a way to come up with a lower number, the adaptation will not move forward at the current budget.

Sustained by Gabler’s passion for the project, Pi has attracted an array of notable suitors over the years: M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet have all been attached at some point to depict the tale of a teenage boy stranded at sea with a Bengal tiger.  Hit the jump for a full plot synopsis.

life_of_pi_book_cover_01Here’s the synopsis via 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?

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