CATEGORIES Action, Drama, Deals, New Releases, Fox Searchlight, Movie News, New Releases, CinematicalFox 2000 acquired the rights to Yann Martel's Booker Prize winner, The Life of Pi, seven years ago. In the intervening years, the book has languished in development hell. Directors like M. Night Shyamalan, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Alfonso Cuaron have all been involved with the attempt to bring Martel's story to the big screen -- and each has bowed out. The latest name to take on the project is none other than Ang Lee. Indiewire's In Production blog is reporting that the director is now onboard and the title is waiting for a greenlight from Fox in order to begin shooting later this summer.
The international bestseller is about a teenage boy who survives a shipwreck by climbing aboard a lifeboat with a tiger, a hyena and a zebra. The producers are looking to procure a budget in the $70 million range, partially to cover the film's elaborate CG costs and to make it a 3D feature. Obviously, the animals will be computer-generated, since having a tiger and other assorted beasts on a lifeboat sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Producer Elizabeth Gabler had this to say about what they hope to accomplish with the project: "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." It's a lofty ambition, but is Ang Lee the one to realize it? Lee's had an up-and-down career over the past few years -- earning praise and success for films like Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but seeing disappointing returns for his version of The Hulk and Taking Woodstock. Will Pi get him back on track? Gabler hopes The Life of Pi will lens this August and be released 2012.