On November 21, Life of Pi (our current novel for the SAS Book Club), will be released as a 3D film in the US, and the much-publicised trailer promises the movie will be every bit as exciting as the novel. It’s been a rocky voyage for the movie version of Life of Pi, which was based on the novel by Yann Martel. Many famous directors had tried to make Life of Pi into a movie, but they couldn’t figure out exactly what to do with a story that has so many different interpretations. First M Night Shyamalan, who directed The Sixth Sense, Signs and Unbreakable, signed on for the project. He gave up. Directors Alfonso Cuaron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet followed. Nearly a decade after Shyamalan jumped ship, Ang Lee took over and completed his movie.
Lee, best known for directing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Brokeback Mountain, said in interviews that he waited for certain 3D technology to evolve so that he could interpret his vision for the story of a teenager who is shipwrecked for 227 days on the Pacific Ocean. In Yann Martel’s book, Pi Patel is an Indian boy on a spiritual journey. His parents own a zoo in Pondicherry, once a French colony in India. When Pi Patel’s father can no longer take the politics of India, he decides to migrate to Canada. The family embarks on a voyage with some of the animals they have sold to zoos in the US and Canada. Then, there is a catastrophic shipwreck.
When the ship goes down, Pi Patel begins an epic story of survival. His bizarre tale is a mesmerising read filled with fantastic tales of life aboard a lifeboat with some zoo animals, including a tiger named Richard Parker. Many of the events in the novel are left totally up to the imaginative interpretation of the reader. Life of Pi is the perfect book club novel because no two people ever have the same interpretation of the ending or even some of the events leading up to the ending. Life of Pi is chockfull of philosophical and literary discussion points.
It’s been nearly 12 years since Life of Pi was first released, and interest in this controversial novel has never waned. It’s one of those books that always crops up in conversations about best books ever read.
If you’re interested in books about how movies are made, check out The Making of Life of Pi with 275 illustrations documenting the making of the movie. It’s available at amazon.com
Check out the following Web sites about the movie Life of Pi.