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Ang Lee has cast unknown Indian high school student Suraj Sharma (left) to play the lead in his adaptation of Yann Martel’s “Life of Pi”, a book that Lee himself didn’t think anyone could translate to the big screen, but by God, he’s gonna try to crack this sucker anyway, even if he has to resort to gimmicky 3D to do it.
“It’s expensive to shoot in 3-D,” Lee says. “I know it’s a great burden on me, but the story kept haunting me, and 3-D was the way for me to crack the book.”
Lee cast Suraj Sharma, 17, a Delhi high school student who acted once in a school play, to play Pi Patel, the young man stranded after a shipwreck on a 26-foot lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, zebra, hyena and orangutan. Sharma was one of 3,000 teenage boys who auditioned. “He read one complex scene, and by the end he was crying,” Lee says. “We all were.”
Much of the film will be set in a lifeboat out in the open ocean, so how Lee is going to pull that off is anybody’s guess. Then again, if you’ve got a complex story to tell, Lee is probably your man.
Look for it in 2012.