Ang Lee talks about Life of Pi, the future of 3D and tiger testicles

March, 2014

Don’t make me Ang Lee; you wouldn’t like me when I’m Ang Lee

While attending the recent World Creative 3D Summit at the British Film Institute on London’s South Bank I was present for an exclusive interview with critically acclaimed director Ang Lee.

Ang was literally thrown in at the deep end in his first major stereoscopic 3D production Life of Pi which has been both a commercial and critical success. Ang noted the difficulty in bringing such an ambitious concept to life “I read the book about ten years ago, but I didn’t think it was filmable”.

With technological advancements, it has only recently been possible to even consider a project like Life of Pi. Otherwise, you would have needed a lot more very similar looking Indian boys!

Visual Effect consultant for 20th Century Fox David Conley had his work cut out for him “Ang wanted the water and the sky to be characters” “when creating the tiger he would say things like ‘I need it to be spiritual, and I need it to be powerful’ and we would have to try and translate that when animating Richard Parker (the tiger)”, Ang Lee stated “I don’t care how they do it, but they have to make it look real”

Many people, including animal expert Sir David Attenborough, were surprised to learn that a real tiger was only used in one shot. The process of creating the tiger spanned several countries and visual effects houses “we had a kid in Taiwan whose sole job was to animate the tiger’s testicles!”

Ang Lee expressed his thoughts on the necessity of 3D in this particular project “to involve the audience in a way to experience what Pi experienced; it needed to be 3D.”

Many people think 3D is only really beneficial to action films; however Ang Lee is not one of those people “it irritates me when people say that 3d movies should be action movies or expensive films, I think 3D is an advantage to make things look realistic. I think 3D should be used in drama because it gives realism” and with the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby we’ll soon see how 3D can be applied to lower key projects.

Martin Scorsese said that he would probably never make a 2D film again, but Ang Lee is realistic about future projects   “I plan to work in 3D in the future if I can afford it. I want to be one of the trailblazers for this new media, but I still love making 2D movies.”

“If you haven’t seen the Life of Pi in 3D, you haven’t seen it at all.”


Ang Lee is the 13th winner of our 366 awards.

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