• Ang Lee on the sets of Life of Pi
  • Life of Pi book cover (c) yellowlibrary.com
  • A still from Life of Pi
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  • Ang Lee on the sets of Life of Pi
  • Life of Pi book cover (c) yellowlibrary.com
  • A still from Life of Pi
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Academy Award winning filmmaker Ang Lee’s most famous films have been based on literary or comic book work. Lee’s first film to be shot entirely and only in English was Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the fourth novel in the Crane Iron series, written by wuxia (heroic Chinese martial arts fiction) novelist Wang Du Lu. Hulk was the Marvel Comics superhero created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Brokeback Mountain was from a short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, while Lust, Caution was based on a novella by Eileen Chang. And his latest film Life of Pi is based on the Booker Prize winning bestseller by Yann Martel. Here are two quick questions to him on adapting the same.

 

Yann (Martel) said that the film was pretty close to, and true to, the story of Life of Pi. How much of your own interpretation did you give to it?

I think everything’s my interpretation because if you had someone else doing the movie, it would be different. We’re filmmakers. We’re not translators from words to cinema— we don’t do that. It’s… what moves us, what inspires us, we try to spell out cinematically. I think that’s all there is. I hope the movie stands on its own, even though it took from the book. It’s the same material but it’s different media .

Did you feel you had to be loyal to the text? Did expectations from readers weigh on your mind when you made the film? The book has millions of readers— it’s a bestseller.

I try to be loyal and it’s no use to think… It’s an inspiring book, so (it has to be) inspired. What do you mean readers? Millions of readers have millions of responses to it, they all feel a certain ownership to the thing. You can’t worry about that. I’m a reader, this is my two cents, my response. And I hope people love it. So far it’s been pretty good, we don’t have a wide distribution yet but we’ve exposed it a little bit at film festivals. So far people really didn’t compare it to the book. I guess that means it’s been loyal.

Alyssa Lobo and Meryl Mary Sebastian

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2 Questions with Ang Lee

Interview
November 2012