Since Slumdog Millionaire is going to win the Best Picture Oscar, it makes sense that Hollywood is mining all the Indian stories it has at its studios. There’s Johnny Depp pairing with Mira Nair in Shantaram. And tonight I hear Ang Lee is set to direct the bestselling novel Life Of Pi for Fox 2000 (possibly with David Magee of Finding Neverland writing the screenplay). The last time Elizabeth Gabler talked about this project she acquired back in 2003, she had chosen M Night Shymalan to adapt, produce and helm because its protagonists come from Pondicherry, India, which is his hometown and she felt he had a special feel for the material as a result. Also touted to make the film were directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Alfonso Cuaron. The magical adventure story by Yann Martel won the Man Booker Prize for 2002: it centers on Pi Patel, the precocious zookeeper’s son who hitches a ride on a freighter bound for Canada only to be found adrift in the Pacific on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a Bengal tiger. That Ang Lee is now going to direct Life Of Pi is a surprise, albeit a pleasant one.
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