Sharma, who's never acted before, beat out 3,000 other young men for the role. In a press release announcing his casting, Lee stated, "It has been a daunting and exciting process to develop a motion picture that brings Yann Martel's fascinating, mind-boggling story to the big screen. Casting the sixteen-year old Pi was particularly challenging. We searched throughout India for a young man who had the innocence to capture our attention, the depth of character to break our hearts, and the physicality needed to embody Pi on his journey."
"Suraj is Pi. During his audition, he filled the room with emotion, much of which he conveyed simply through his eyes," explained Lee. "His natural ability to believe and stay in the world of the story is a rare treasure."
Author Martel said he's thrilled Lee's involved and believes he's the "perfect filmmaker" to bring his novel to the screen. "He's a brilliant, versatile director, with a stunning visual sensibility. He can capture the most intimate emotion as well as the most dynamic action."
Life of Pi Synopsis:
"The all-audience experiential movie event will take us through a young man's incredible adventure - at turns thrilling and spiritual; joyous and harrowing; humorous and tragic. Audiences will follow Pi Patel as he travels from an exotic zoo in India on a voyage across the Pacific, where he survives a shipwreck and is cast adrift in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger as his only company. Adrift in an endless expanse of ocean, Pi struggles to survive and train his companion, landing on a magical island that offers the two their only respite on their desperate journey."
(Photo © Business Wire)
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