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‘Life of Pi’ Begging to Be Greenlit

Over a year ago, we reported that Ang Lee was in talks to attach his directorial self to Life of Pi – an adaptation of the international best-seller by Yann Martel featuring a young boy in a boat with the usual amount of wild animals. After several failed partnerships – Shyamalan, Cuaron, Jeunet – Lee was looking like the one.

And he still is. However, the project isn’t off the ground yet. According to Anne Thompson, Fox still hasn’t greenlit the project.

There are understandable obstacles to making a fantastical movie that involves so much existential crisis and meerkats. It would require a larger budget (possibly $100 million) with its scope and amount of CGI involved.

Thompson go the scoop from producer Elizabeth Gabler:

“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.”

Can’t put a tiger in a boat with a small child? I’m disappointed. Hollywood used to have stones.

With a script from David Magee and Ang Lee on board, I don’t see how this thing could go wrong. Some look to Lee as a genre-hopper, but he’s really only been successful when dealing with drama or personal stories. Despite the largeness of this project, deep down it is a simple story that delves deep into some complex human issues.

It demands to be made.

Plus, Thompson seems to intimate that the project might have legs on it because they now want to do it in 3D. In lieu of taking the opportunity to bash that money-making fad, I’ll point out that this is the type of film that can actually work really well with another dimension. There are a ton of great possible visuals, and the idea of distance is one of the themes of the book.

My personal feelings about the material aside, would you want to give a huge bag of cash to a director who hasn’t found success with his last two films featuring a cast of unknowns?

Hollywood used to have stones.

What do you think?

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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