Novelist Yann Martel spoke
with The Hollywood reporter about the adaptation of his award-winning novel Life of Pi
into a major feature film directed by Ang Lee. Martel met with Lee before shooting to discuss the book and the screenplay. He said he gave the director feedback on the screenplay but gave him carte blanche to adapt the work the way he saw fit.
The hands-off approach worked quite well; Martel is thrilled with the way the movie turned out. He explained, "Early on, I made very clear that I was willing to do whatever they wanted me to do and that I was stepping back because I know my limits. I'm a novelist; it's my business to write words and construct novels, not to make movies — as much as I love movies. I grew up watching movies."
Martel had this to say about authors hovering over the director: "I think the worst kind of thing when you're trying to do something is to have some author saying, 'Well, wait a second -- you didn't do it this way, you should do it that way,' " he continues. "I gave my feedback: 'You're the filmmaker, you're a brilliant filmmaker. I trust you. You do what you want.'"
Martel was shocked at how true to the book's intentions the film is. He says the movie is very faithful to the book: not just "the storyline but also the idea, the intent." He said Lee has made a "brilliant movie."
Life of Pi
, which was adapted for the screen by David Magee (Finding Neverland
), opens in wide release on Dec 14, 2012.