For this coming Christmas, Life of Pi will finally be coming to theaters – and now there is another very good reason to hope the world doesn’t end in a Mayan apocalypse on December 21, 2012. At the CinemaCon (the official convention of The National Association of Theatre Owners) this week, 20th Century Fox unveiled a 10-minute look at the upcoming 3D film about an eccentric Indian boy lost at sea on a lifeboat together with a very large and hungry Bengal tiger, and the buzz from the convention is that this footage is “extraordinary.”
This news alone is an early Christmas gift as this is one of my all-time favorite books and if you haven’t read the award-winning Yann Martel adventure novel yet, it is strongly recommended that you do. The story is about a quirky and inquisitive young boy named Piscine “Pi” Patel, whose family owns a zoo in India and decides to move all their animals to settle in a new home in Canada. On the trip across the ocean their ship sinks and the only survivors are Pi, a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a tiger named Richard Parker.
Most of Pi’s tale takes place on-board the lost lifeboat, but the journey covers an ocean of thoughtful insight on matters of religion, life and the faith required to survive unfathomable hardship. President Barack Obama has even written the author, Yann Martel, regarding his incredible book, saying [it is] “an elegant proof of God and the power of storytelling.” You can’t get a much better endorsement than that.
Life of Pi was first published in 2001 and the film project based on the book has been batted around Hollywood for years now. At one time the film was even attached to M. Night Shyamalan (Unbreakable), who ultimately walked away from the project because he was afraid his reputation for twist-endings would hurt the experience of the story – which certainly has some surprises.
The upcoming movie landed in director Ang Lee’s (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) very capable hands and he has been working on the project for three and a half years now. The film is being praised for pushing the envelope of 3D technology and already is being considered a strong Oscar contender. You can read more about the The Life of Pi’ short sneek-peek in the Deadline|Hollywood article regarding the CinemaCon convention.