Soon after Yann Martel made a splash in the literary world with his novel Life of Pi, Fox 2000 got its hands on the rights for a film adaptation. That was 7 years ago, however, and since then the movie has been in and out of development hell with more potential directors then you can count on one hand. The most recent name to be attached, according to Anne Thompson, is Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee. And while I wouldn’t put full faith in any one director staying attached for more then a couple months, it looks as though Lee may actually be in it for the long haul.
The book tells the story of a boy stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the Pacific with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a large tiger named Richard Parker. Despite what that may suggest, its apparently not a giant setup for a joke. While I’ve not actually read it, I’m assured that it seriously examines the psychological effects of being trapped on a boat with a tiger. And here I was more worried about the physical effects…
Although it would be an interesting experiment to put a collection of exotic and possibly dangerous animals on a boat with a child, the producers have instead opted to use CG for the boat’s furry inhabitants. In addition, they intend to use their $70 million budget to film in 3D.
““It has a gigantic visual effects component. You can’t put a live tiger in a boat with a child. It has elements of Castaway, when the kid is alone in the boat. You don’t need language to convey what’s on the screen. We need to make the movie for the whole world.” says producer Elizabeth Gabler.
Fox has not yet given the project a green-light, but Gabler remains hopeful that they’ll have a finished product ready for release in 2012. While personally, I was more excited to see previously attached director Jean-Pierre Juenet (Amelie) try his hand, I still remain hopeful that Lee will once again find whatever it was that made Brokeback so sucessful (Gay sex?).
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