Ang Lee: Oscar is goal for Life of Pi
Director Ang Lee on bringing Yann Martell’s novel to the big screen Discuss this article
Why has it taken such a long time to complete the movie?
In film there are certain unspoken rules: never work with children, never work with animals, and whatever you do, never work with water – water is just too troublesome. This film had all three. Another issue was 3D. But it’s a really interesting adventure film, and it was very enjoyable to work on. The philosophical and inspirational aspects are strong, so we had to include all of that, and for me that was a challenge. I worked with 3,000 people for four years to bring this to the screen, and now it’s finally emerging to be shared with everyone.
What drew you to the original story of Life of Pi?
I was hugely interested in the story, interested to such a degree that it made me forget my fear and overcome these challenges. The most difficult part is also the best part of the book: its discussion of what spiritual strength is, what belief is, what God is. Is it an external force or is it something inside us? Is it physical or spiritual? It’s an incisive dialectic, but it’s done in a very understandable way. As soon as I finished the book, I introduced it to my wife; my children read it, all American high schools are teaching it. We all talked about it for a long time and it’s a book we all love.
Did you change any parts of the novel?
I’ve stayed very loyal to the book, except for some of the more violent bits, which I’ve softened a little. It’s streamlined, but without cutting things. There are also some additions: the book doesn’t have a whale. The interesting things in the book are interesting because they’re not seen. I wanted to use fantastical things to represent this, not just to fascinate the audience, but also to show that the power of nature and God far surpasses human imagination.
The film is already being tipped as an Oscar contender…
It’s great to have people talking about the film in this way. So many people worked on this for so long, I hope there’s a chance of an Oscar and I hope it’s been a successful experience. I really hope it’s not an ordinary film. A film has to be universal just to have a chance of an Oscar, but it also has to be artistic enough. I think an Oscar is a good goal for this film. That was never really my intention, but it would be good for its distribution, for the people who worked on it, and also to bring its strong Eastern themes into the mainstream, because the Oscars are a very mainstream institution. The world is watching.
Life of Pi is in UAE cinemas from Thursday December 20.
By Li Xingfei
Time Out Dubai,
- Cinemacity, Arabian Center(10)
- Grand Cinecity Al Ghurair(7)
- Grand Cineplex (Oud Metha)(10)
- Grand Dubai Festival City(10)
- Grand Megaplex Ibn Battuta Mall(16)
- Lamcy Cinema Lamcy Plaza(1)
- Meydan IMAX Theatre(1)
- Reel Cinemas Dubai Marina Mall(5)
- Reel Cinemas The Dubai Mall(14)
- VOX Cinemas Deira City Centre(9)
- VOX Cinemas Mall of the Emirates(12)
- VOX Cinemas Mercato Mall(7)
- VOX Cinemas Mirdif City Centre(10)
Time Out Dubai Music & Nightlife Awards 2013 The best nightlife in Dubai revealed
Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards 2013 Revealed: The best places to eat in Dubai
Best Selling Events
- Love, Loss and What I Wore (Wed, May 22 - 8pm Show)
- Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters (Season Tickets)
- Dubai Duty Free Darts Masters (Quarter Finals)
- Love, Loss and What I Wore (Thu, May 23 - 8pm Show)
- Urban Circus (Thu, May 23 - 8pm Show)
Our favourite features
101 best dishes of the year in Dubai Tastiest meals that have tickled Time Out’s taste buds in 2012
10 top Dubai beaches Grab your sunscreen and head for the city's best beach clubs
100 top brunches in Dubai Friday feasts plus evening and Saturday brunch for all wallets
55 ways to party in Dubai Celebrate our 11th birthday with an alternative activity
10 must-try nights in Dubai The ultimate checklist for the city’s party people
Best cupcakes in Dubai We give in to our cravings to taste the city’s sweetest offerings
15 Wi-Fi hotspots in Dubai Ditch the office in favour of these Wi-Fi cafés and venues in the city
24 top pizzas in Dubai We tuck into the city’s best slices of Italy
24-hour dining in Dubai We stay up to try 12 of the city's best round-the-clock eateries
Where to watch Premier League football in Dubai Great spots to catch the English Premier League soccer on TV
28 top Dubai takeaways We rate the city's best delivery food
Dubai's luxury hotel suites Live like a king at the city's most extravagant rooms
24 brunches to try in Dubai Time Outers share their favourite Friday feasts in the city
10 top Dubai breakfasts The best spots to enjoy the most important meal of the day
Pay less rent in Dubai The ultimate property guide to help you relocate and save cash