Life of Pi director Ang Lee has revealed that his latest film has been his most challenging yet.
The creator of award-winning Chinese martial arts film Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon found dealing will the fantastical nature of the Booker Prize novel adaptation incredibly difficult.
"Cinematically speaking, it was the most difficult movie I ever made. Water, kid, tiger, a new language I was not familiar with - 3D - and it does have a tricky ending that sort of pulls the rug under the audience's feet. That was quite scary," said the director.
Ang - who cast newcomer Suraj Sharma to play the title role - said he fell in love with the Booker Prize-winning novel's message.
"The book is about the power of storytelling, faith and spirituality, how that is important in our lives," Lee said. "It's incredible, incredible material. I didn't know it was movie material but it really grabbed my heart."
Suraj, 19, landed the role after accompanying his actor brother to the audition.
The student admitted he was unsure about taking on the starring role with no previous acting experience.
"The entire crew was so welcoming and friendly. I went in thinking 'Oh my God, they're going to think this new kid, he's gonna mess up' and I thought they would be a little bit sceptical about the whole thing but they have been so supportive like a family. I never felt scared," he said.
Sharma said his life had changed "a lot" since appearing in the film. "I can't explain how much. I was a normal kid. I'm an ordinary kid in an extraordinary situation... Everything has changed, my outlook, the way I think, everything around me, it's all changed."
Life Of Pi will be released in cinemas on December 20.
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