Life of Pi (2012) Poster



Jump to: Director Cameo (1) | Spoilers (3)
Tobey Maguire was originally cast as the Writer. Though he filmed his scenes, he was later replaced by Rafe Spall. Ang Lee thought Maguire was too famous for such a small role, and would have been distracting.
Suraj Sharma never intended to audition for the film. He went to a casting call to support his brother, and beat out more than 3,000 hopefuls for the lead role.
The shot from overhead of Pi sleeping on the tarp, with Richard curled up in the boat and the fish swimming underneath them, replicates the best known cover of the book that the film is based on.
Ang Lee hired Steven Callahan as a "nautical consultant." In 1982, Callahan survived 76 days adrift on a rubber lifeboat in the Atlantic after his sailboat sank.
Suraj Sharma, was never in the boat with a live tiger. Most of the tiger shots were very high-tech CGI. Only a few scenes, like the tiger swimming in the water, included a real tiger.
The name Richard Parker has previously been associated with shipwrecks. 1) In the Edgar Allan Poe novel "The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket", published in 1838, Richard Parker is a member of a group of shipwrecked sailors who resort to cannibalism. 2) In 1884, a ship called Mignorette sank in the ocean. Four people survived, including a cabin boy named Richard Parker, who was subsequently killed and eaten by the other three survivors.
First movie in 7 years to receive the Oscar for Best Director without winning the Oscar for Best Motion Picture. The previous movie was Brokeback Mountain (2005), also directed by Ang Lee.
The first film not rated PG-13 or R by the MPAA to win the Oscar for Best Director since Out of Africa (1985).
The Piscine Molitor was located in Paris, next to Parc Bois de Boulogne, between Stade Roland Garros and Parc des Princes. It opened in 1929, closed in 1989, and was classified as a French historical monument on March 27, 1990. In 2007 a renovation project was initiated, and a luxury hotel complex with the original swimming pools opened on May 19th, 2014.
The Vfx studio "Rhythm & Hues" won an Academy Award for this film. This was two weeks after they declared bankruptcy. Main reason was, that there where much substance changes, without paying the extra work (what seems to be normal in this business). Ang Lee did not even mention the Vfx-team at the Oscars. Most of the Work in this film was made by this team. There is also a short documentation about this, named Life After Pi (2014).
Aspect ratio changes in two scenes. There is 2:35:1 for the flying fish scene and 4:3 for when Pi and Richard lay on the boat and a big glowing fish passes underneath. Aspect ratio shift is something the director always wanted to do since film school and did it in this movie.
  • The 2.35:1 aspect ratio was chosen to enhance the visual depth between the flying fish and the ocean. As Ang Lee said, "Scope was the only way to see this flying fish scene, and with the black areas at the bottom of the frame, I could pull fish out of there."

  • 4:3 was used as a homage to the cover of the book. It's the exact image but with a whale added.

The Japanese cargo ship's name, Tsimtsum, is a Hebrew word used by 16th-century Kabbalist Isaac Luria to denote God's "contraction" of Himself from the world at Creation. In the novel, the adult Pi mentions doing a college thesis on Luria's theories about creation. In the movie, he mentions teaching a course on Kabbalah.
One of two 2012 movies featuring Irrfan Khan that has a character named "Richard Parker," whose name is spoken by Khan's character. The other is The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
Since the rights were optioned in 2002, several directors have been attached, including M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Pi is reading The Mysterious Island (sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) by Jules Verne.
Author Yann Martel said he was inspired by a book review of Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar's 1981 novella Max and the Cats, about a Jewish-German refugee who crossed the Atlantic Ocean while sharing his boat with a jaguar.
The Japanese insurance report, seen briefly while the "Writer" glances at the report folder and newspaper clipping, indicates a report number "250663", 25 June 1963 is the birth-date of Yann Martel, the author of the 2001 novel "Life of Pi".
Pi is on the lifeboat for 227 days. A good approximation for the number pi is 22/7.
Life of Pi (2012) became the first family film to win the Academy Award for Best Director (Ang Lee) since Carol Reed for Oliver! (1968) at the 41st Academy Awards in 1969, though others have been nominated: Norman Jewison for Fiddler on the Roof (1971), George Lucas for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Steven Spielberg for Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Martin Scorsese for Hugo (2011).
At one point M. Night Shyamalan was attached to write and direct this project.
Suraj Sharma, the actor who plays Pi, only went to the audition for Life of Pi to support his brother. Originally, he didn't want to go because it would mean waiting for hours. His brother bribed him go with him by saying he would buy Suraj a Subway sandwhich afterwards. He then agreed, and ended up getting the part after his brother's manager suggested it.
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Tabu and Irrfan Khan previously played husband and wife in The Namesake (2006).

Director Cameo 

Ang Lee:  A ship crewman in line just before Pi's mother, receiving his food tray from the cook.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Towards the end of the story, Pi mentions that the carnivorous island was never seen again, and it creates an element of doubt about the version of the story with the tiger. In the beginning of the movie, when Pi tells the writer about Lord Vishnu, he says, "Vishnu sleeps on the shore-less cosmic ocean, and we are the stuff of his dreams." The carnivorous island had the shape of Vishnu lying on the ocean.
Adult Pi's daughter is named Anandi, after his teenage love. His son is named Ravi, after his older brother.
Several shots include the profile view of a supine Vishnu (the sleeping Hindu God seen in the barge). He appears in the distant hills when Pi is on holiday and visits the church to drink the holy water. He appears in clouds on a dark night at sea. He is in the shape of the Marianas Trench on the oceanic map. He is also the carnivorous island in profile.

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