Ang Lee's Life Of Pi On Hold Thanks To Budget Disputes
Just a few days ago I published an interview I did with Micmacs director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, in which he explained that he abandoned his planned adaptation of the novel Life of Pi when it became clear 20th Century Fox wouldn't provide the budget he needed. Somewhat sarcastically he wished luck to "Mr. Ang Lee," who has taken over the project since Jeunet left-- clearly Jeunet believed the project would also challenge the Hulk and Brokeback Mountain director.
I guess Jeunet knew even more than he was letting on. According to The Los Angeles Times, Fox 2000 has determined the $70 million budget presented by Lee and producer Gil Netter to be too high, and until they can work something out, the film has been put on hold. Really, it's kind of amazing the movie is still going forward. Yes, it's based on a bestseller, but it's also a story about a young boy trapped on a raft with a bunch of exotic animals, including a Bengal tiger that would probably need to be rendered largely in CGI. Remember how Disney cut down the amount of scenes shot on the water in Pirates 4 to save money? Just imagine how much an entire movie's worth of water shoots would cost.
$70 million honestly already sounds kind of low for a project this elaborate, but given that it's the kind of literary adaptation that almost never makes any money, it's probably even more than the studio can afford. Will Ang Lee make this work somehow, or will he make like all the other directors who have been attached, cut his losses and move on to something more worthwhile?
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