Yann Martel’s book – an international bestselling, magical realist novel beloved by thousands – has long been described as “unfilmable”. A few days ago, as the official trailer for Ang Lee’s film adaptation of Life of Pi hit the web, all the naysayers were definitively proved wrong.
The trailer has been out for less than a week, and already there’s talk that Life of Pi could be THE film to sweep next year’s Oscars.
The story centres on a young boy from Pondicherry named Piscine Molitor Patel, or “Pi” for short, who finds himself thrust into an epic journey of self discovery when a disaster leaves him stranded on a lifeboat with an assortment of animals as company, most notably a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Though initially their relationship is fraught with danger, a strange and deep friendship grows between Pi and Richard Parker as their journey spans oceans and continents.
Pi is played by a newcomer to the screen, 17 year old Suraj Sharma, a student hailing from Delhi, India. Sharma was one of 3000 young men who responded to a casting call for the role. Director Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) had to arrange swimming lessons for Sharma, who prior to being cast as Pi had never acted, and could not swim at all.
Joining Sharma in the cast are Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Adil Hussain and Gerard Depardieu. The film is set to release in December this year in 3D.