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Shyamalan not to make film in India

November 04, 2005 18:11 IST

M Night ShyamalanOn paper it looked like a dream project: M Night Shyamalan working for the first time on a film based on someone else's story.

And not just anyone.

Night Shyamalan on the rediff chat

Shyamalan was working on Yann Martel's 2002 Booker Prize-winning novel Life of Pi.

Besides this unique collaboration, another interesting factor for Shyamalan was the fact that this would be the first film he would shoot (partly) in India, ever since his first film, Praying With Anger, shot in Tamil Nadu.

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After the director's last effort, the admittedly disappointing The Village, his fans and Pi-lovers alike would be hoping for the bar to be raised.

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Life Of Pi is the tale of a 16-year-old boy's voyage from India to Canada, on a ship carrying animals his father is transporting from a zoo.

When the ship sinks mid-ocean, the sole survivor, the boy, is forced to share a lifeboat with a hyena, an injured zebra and a hungry tiger.

In late October, Searchlight announced the film would go ahead with another director as Shyamalan was going to be busy for many months with the post-production work on his latest suspense film, Lady In The Water.

French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Jeunet, who made the Oscar-nominated Amelie which grossed over $100 million worldwide four years ago, will now direct Life Of Pi. He will also work on the script.

'We bought the book three years ago, and so many filmmakers were passionate about it,' Elizabeth Gabler, a top executive at Fox told Daily Variety. 'But we felt a responsibility to the material and Yann Martel to wait for the right one at the right time.'

Shyamalan is certainly not the only one to lose out on the Martel project. 

For some time Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron was seriously considered but after an exhaustive six month shoot on Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, he was not rushing into another film.

All these changes mean one thing: Jeunet should be extra fast in getting his act together. The movie is set to start production after about six months, with or without the director.

Arthur J Pais in New York