'Life of Pi': Five close calls for this 'unfilmable' survival adventure

LIFE-OF-PI

Image Credit: Peter Sorel

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Lee says during one of the storm scenes “we had big waves we created, you know wind, rain, thunder, and it fogged the lens. So we kept cleaning it.” But it wasn’t working. Things got desperate quickly. “We tried everything,” he says. “We called everywhere in the world. We woke people up saying ‘what are we going to do?’” The team worked for 12 hours overnight trying to solve the problem of the foggy lenses, and it was, Lee says “the first time in my career that nothing gets done in 12 hours. It was very frustrating.”

Miranda remembers the day well. They were trying to capture Pi landing in the water while the ship is sinking. A camera was supposed to circle around him as he fell. “It was a lot of coordination,” Miranda says, adding later that the scene didn’t even make it in the movie. In retrospect, Miranda can now pinpoint why things went so wrong that day. One of them was simple: The water in the tank was too hot. But he counts that day among many when things didn’t go as planned with the equipment. Everyone was still learning.

Some had to learn more basic lessons, like their lead actor — who was the star of a movie set mostly on water, but didn’t know how to swim.

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