Director Ang Lee’s upcoming movie on the bestselling book, “Life of Pi”, was announced many years ago, and left many a fan eager. The story about an Indian teenager, Pi Patel, who learns how to live with a tiger named Richard Parker, and their struggle for survival on a small lifeboat after being stranded in the middle of the ocean, touched many hearts with its message. But as great a book as it was, nobody thought it would make for a good movie.
Nobody except Ang Lee, that is. The movie features state of the art technologies, giving its animation an almost life-like feel. That’s what took the movie so long to be made, according to Lee. The book launched in 2002, when there was insufficient technology to make a convincing 3D movie. The script called for a realistic looking tiger, which Lee knew would not be possible to make back in 2002.
When starting work on the movie, Lee first made a 70-minute animated version to help visualize the scenes that would be shot on water as a reference. By then, technological advancements in animation came to Lee’s help. To make the animation look more genuine, Lee even studied videos of Bengal tigers and took the help of trainers on the behavior of tigers. What made Lee’s task even more daunting was that he couldn’t see the outcome of his shooting until much later, in the post-production stage.
Pushing their imaginations to the extreme levels, the team took between three and six months to begin designing the tiger shots. A team of 2,000 people worked round-the-clock, seven days of the week, spread out all over Canada, India, L.A. and Malaysia towards making this movie. The main lead for this movie, 17-year old Suraj Sharma, was chosen from over 3,000 people who auditioned for the role.