Ang Lee's 'Life of Pi': Three reasons we're into this idea

Lifeofpi_lFans of tigers in lifeboats, rejoice! Ang Lee is in talks to direct the long-awaited film adaptation of Life of Pi. We’re filing this one under: "We’ll believe it when we see it." I got my hopes up a few years ago when M. Night Shyamalan was still attached to the idea (don’t judge: This was before Lady in the Water!) and that resulted in a hot pile of nothing.

But I’m encouraged this time for a number of reasons. First, Lee’s ability to blend the magical with the corporeal is definitely a plus. One of the aspects I love about the book is that our hero, Pi Patel, is able to hold conflicting models of reality at once, whether it’s his omniverous religious beliefs at the beginning or the fantasy-tinged story that becomes the major action of the book. Lee has walked that line in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I’m also reminded of how gently he treats head-versus-heart battles in Sense and Sensibility. Second, one of Lee’s specialties is quiet: The Ice Storm and Brokeback Mountain both go ages without dialogue. Pi has scene after scene of a teenage dude in a boat, and while his inner monologue is narrated for us in the book, any halfway decent adaptation will have to scale back on the constant "and then I thought" blathering.Finally, though, is the big reason I think Pi might actually get made now: It turns out there’s a market for a fairytale-leaning, occasionally violent, beating-the-odds story about an Indian teenager. Here’s hoping there’s a market for two.

What about you, PopWatchers? Think this Lee adaptation will ever come to fruition? Is he right for the job? Who would you cast in a Life of Pi movie?

addCredit(“Jamie McCarthy/”)


Comments (29 total) Add your comment
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  • Babs

    I adore Life of Pi. And Ang Lee. I hope this gets made. It would make my year.

  • Al

    I loved the book. I hope Lee keeps the religious elements of the story, otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

  • Harry

    Ang Lee is perfect for this kind of material. I love the book. Thank God M. Night didn’t direct it. M. Night is the second worst director alive. First: Uwe Boll. Third: Chris Weitzs.

  • Pris

    The Life of Pi was a wonderful book and Ang Lee is an amazing director. I know he’d do a great job with the movie, but, I can’t imagine anyone really well known who could do the part justice. Maybe that new (at least to me)and talented young man from Slum Dog Millionaire could handle it. Will be waiting to see.

  • Astro Boy

    YES!! Ang is perfect for this. I know he’ll cast it correctly too (read: no Jesse McCartney).

  • Ann

    Even with a good director, I have my doubts about Life of Pi as a movie. I enjoyed the book, but I think that even for Ang Lee there’s too little action. It won’t translate well to the screen, I think.

  • Ann

    Life of Pi is a really, really great book. Hope the movie adaptation can do it justice.

  • HellsYeah

    I absolutely LOVE Life of Pi and am so glad Ang Lee is involved (Love him too!) Should be really good. And count me as another glad soul that M.Night will have NOTHING to do with it (I liked Sixth Sense, The Village, and Signs but he’s made A LOT of complete crap that needs not be mentioned. Though it doesn’t really seem like much of an M.Night vehicle anyway…)
    And Harry, you are correct: Uwe Boll is the worst director alive! I don’t know how he’s still working. He’s actually trying to fund a movie through internet donations (by donating you can win so-called “prizes” like a special copy of the movie on DVD or a chance to visit the set. Might be worth it to get close enough to him to slap him upside the head!)

  • anne

    Liked the book, right up until the last chapter or two, then loved the book. Very thought provoking. I hope that Mr. Lee remains true to the book and its ending (though I agree, lay off with the “I then thought”). So glad M. Night did not destroy a perfectly good piece of literature with a craptastic movie version.

  • Fatima

    I remember reading a few years ago it might go to M.Night and I sent an e-mail to a friend that simply linked to it and said “NOOOOOOO.” Ang Lee I can get behind. Yes!

  • Al


  • Lis

    I absolutely adore this book. And I absolutely adore Dev Patel. And he would make an absolutely perfect Pi.
    And that’s absolutely the truth! :)

  • Chelle Belle

    I hope this actually happens. I have the tiger as a tattoo. One of my top 10 books ever read.

  • rockgolf

    What? You couldn’t come up with 0.1415926 more reasons?

  • Fatima

    You know, as much as I hate Slumdog Millionaire and found Dev Patel to be supremely overrated in the role, he would be good for this. They could probably find a better Indian actor, but the reserved dignity of Pi would suit him pretty well. It is an inward character and he could do it.

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