It brought back great memories - visiting lovely Taiwan, meeting Ang Lee and being in a huge water tank (the world's largest water tank set or something like that) to watch the great genius at work. Life of Pi holds a special place in my heart because it was the last movie I covered before resigning from The Star and moving to Australia.
Ang Lee, at first glance, is like the uncle next door. He may be soft-spoken, quiet and humble, but beneath all that is a creative genius. I was simply impressed by the Taiwanese director's drive and attention to detail.
I visited the set around May last year. It was located at Taiwan's abandoned Taichung airport. Sadly, by then, the tigers were already flown back, but the production was in full swing.
We were shown around the set and I saw a team of people meticulously working on props such as journals, clothes, furniture, debris, plastic fish ... but the best part was seeing how Ang Lee and his team put together such an ambitious film. We even saw the 3D mock-up film of the amazing sinking ship sequence that you see in the trailer.
There's an astounding amount of careful planning that went into the film to ensure that the film stayed on budget; Ang Lee lamented a few times that he wished he didn't have that burden on his shoulders, so I'm really glad that Life of Pi received mostly positive reviews from critics. In fact, it's nominated for an impressive 11 Oscar Academy Awards and 3 Golden Globes! Good going, Ang Lee!
PS: Which is why I should really watch the movie soon ... yes, these days I'm really not up-to-date with my movie watching. I used to be so good at this! Heh.