(KTSF by Sean Au)
Director Ang Lee’s latest Hollywood film “Life of Pi” opens in theatres today. With a price tag of $100 million, this is Ang Lee’s first venture into 3D filmmaking and marks a welcome return to his native Taiwan to make movies.
A 16 year old Indian boy by the name of Pi loses his family when the ship they were in sank in the Pacific Ocean. Pi was able to get into a lifeboat in time, along with a few more animals, but in the end, only Pi and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker sail away alive. What follows is a story of survival of man and creature over 227 days drifting at sea.
Adapted from Canadian author Yann Martel’s Man Booker prize-winning book, it was deemed unfilmable as a majority of the story takes place at sea. A handful of renowned Hollywood directors have been attached to the project at one point or another, but gave up. One key reason is the huge cost that comes with filming on the ocean.
Ang Lee’s attraction to the story makes him look past the three nightmares in filmmaking: working with children, working with animals and working with the notoriously hard-to-control element of water. Lee persuaded the studio to approve the $100 million budget and headed to his native Taiwan to make the film.
“Making the film in Taiwan is a great opportunity,” says Lee. “Especially for young filmmakers, they get to see and experience how a Hollywood film is made.”
This is also the first time that Lee makes a film in 3D. He employs the help of the company behind James Cameron’s “Avatar.” Making “Pi” becomes a learning experience for Lee. How to use this new filmmaking knowledge to create an artistic work that will be appreciated by the movie goers becomes a huge challenge for Lee.
“Every film has a life of its own. You cannot force it,” says Lee. “You have to listen to it. It will be different from what you thought in the beginning. This is also what makes it interesting.”
Video courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox.
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