Like the character at its center, the film adaptation of the 2001 Yann Martel novel "Life of Pi" has been adrift for a long time. After being attached to such directors as M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón and Jean-Pierre Jeunet over the years, the 3-D spiritual fable about a young man marooned at sea alongside a Bengal tiger ultimately ended up in the hands of Ang Lee and is due out in December. Carrying much of the acting load will be first-timer Suraj Sharma, a student from Delhi, India, who was chosen from among 3,000 candidates. Sharma, 17 at the time of filming, had no previous acting experience and auditioned on a lark with encouragement from his brother and mother. Elizabeth Gabler, president of Fox 2000, said the filmmakers were struck by Sharma's strength, vulnerability and sense of humor. "He has the ability to be both a boy and a young man," Gabler said in a statement.
"Life of Pi" also stars Gerard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan and Tobey Maguire.
-- Oliver Gettell