Adapting best-selling novels is never an easy job and, in the case of Ang Lee and “Life Of Pi,” it’s a task made only more difficult by the off-beat tale centering on the shipwrecked son of an Indian zookeeper who’s stuck on a lifeboat with a 450-pound bengal tiger in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Perhaps that’s why names like Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Alfonso Cuaron and M. Night Shyamalan have come and gone in their attempts to adapt Yann Martel‘s popular novel but, with Lee diving head first into the project in 3D no less, we now have our first look at the film featuring newcomer Suraj Sharma as Pi and his sizable, striped friend in their lifeboat.
Lee had previously implied that he would be using CGI animals and we have to say, it looks impressively real. Either way, when things reach shore in the David Magee (“Finding Neverland“) script, Irrfan Khan co-stars as the adult Pi with Tobey Maguire as a writer interviewing him, Gerard Depardieu as The Chef and Tabu as Pi’s mother.
The film will hit theaters on December 21st, right in the middle of a Christmas box office war where it’ll open alongside Judd Apatow‘s “This Is Forty,” Kathryn Bigelow‘s “Zero Dark Thirty” and Tom Cruise-starrer “One Shot“; a week after “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey“; and a week before fellow oddly-3D pic “The Great Gatsby” and Tarantino‘s “Django Unchained.” Good luck, Ang. [CriterionCast via FilmStage]