Life of Pi


The Film

Life of Pi is a 2012 US live-action and computer-animated adventure drama film based on Yann Martel's 2001 novel of the same name. Directed by Ang Lee, the film is based on an adapted screenplay by David Magee, and stars Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Gérard Depardieu, Tabu, and Adil Hussain.

The storyline revolves around a 16-year old Indian boy named Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel, who survives a shipwreck in which his family dies. Pi is stranded in the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

The film had its worldwide premiere as the opening film of the 50th New York Film Festival at both the Walter Reade Theatre and Alice Tully Hall in New York City on 28 September 2012.

Upon release, Life of Pi became a critical and commercial success, earning over $600 million worldwide. At the 85th Academy Awards it had eleven nominations, including Best Picture, and won four (the most for the evening) including Best Director for Ang Lee. It won three BAFTAs at the 66th British Academy Film Awards. Life of Pi was also nominated for three Golden Globe Awards which included Best Picture – Drama and the Best Director and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

Development of the Film

Life of Pi is directed by Ang Lee and based on a screenplay by David Magee. The screenplay is adapted from the 2001 novel of the same name written by Yann Martel.

Before Lee, the project had numerous directors and writers attached, and the Los Angeles Times credited Fox 2000 Pictures executive Elizabeth Gabler with keeping the project active. In February 2003, Gabler had acquired the project to adapt Life of Pi into a film. She hired the screenwriter Dean Georgaris to write an adapted screenplay.

In the following October, Fox 2000 announced a partnership with M. Night Shyamalan to direct the film. Shyamalan was attracted to the novel particularly because its protagonist also comes from Pondicherry in India. The partners anticipated that Shyamalan would direct the film adaptation after completing The Village. Shyamalan also replaced Georgaris as the screenwriter, writing a new screenplay for the film. Ultimately, Shyamalan chose to film Lady in the Water after The Village, and Fox 2000 Pictures decided to find another director.

In March 2005, they entered talks with Alfonso Cuarón to become the director. Shyamalan said in 2006, "I was hesitant [to direct] because the book has kind of a twist ending. And I was concerned that as soon as you put my name on it, everybody would have a different experience."

Cuarón decided to direct Children of Men instead, and in October 2005, Fox 2000 Pictures hired Jean-Pierre Jeunet to direct the film. Jeunet began writing the adapted screenplay with Guillaume Laurant, and filming was scheduled to begin in mid-2006, partially in India.

Jeunet eventually left the project, and in February 2009, Fox 2000 Pictures hired Ang Lee to direct the film. In May 2010, Lee and the producer Gil Netter proposed a reported budget of $120 million, at which the studio baulked, placing the project's development on hold for a short time.David Magee was hired to write the screenplay, as Lee began to spend several months looking for someone to cast as Pi.

Following the premiere of the film, Lee stated that his desire to take risks and chances helped with his direction, saying "In a strange way it did feel like we're the vessels, we have to surrender to movie god. We have to let things happen. I just had this feeling, I'll follow this kid to wherever this movie takes me. I saw the movie start to unravel in front of me."




• Piscine Molitor "Pi" Patel:
Gautam Belur as Pi, age 6
Ayush Tandon as Pi, age 13
Suraj Sharma as Pi, age 16
Irrfan Khan as Pi, adult

• Tabu as Gita Patel, Pi's mother

• Adil Hussain as Santosh Patel, Pi's father

• Ravi Patel, Pi's older brother:
Ayan Khan as Ravi, age 7
Mohamed Abbas Khaleeli as Ravi, age 15
Vibish Sivakumar as Ravi, age 18

• Gérard Depardieu as the Cook

• Po-Chieh Wang as the Sailor

• Rafe Spall as the Writer (Yann Martel)

• Shravanthi Sainath as Anandi, Pi's teenage girlfriend

• Andrea Di Stefano as the Priest

• Elie Alouf as Mamaji, Pi's uncle