After a worldwide talent search, Life of Pi's lead role goes to newcomver Suraj Sharma, a 17-year-old student from Delhi who has never acted before, but beat out thousands of teens for the part of Pi Patel:
Director Ang Lee has completed a worldwide talent search for Life of Pi and has cast newcomer Suraj Sharma to play the lead role of 16-year old Pi Patel, a youth who gets stranded for 227 days through shark-infested waters aboard a 26-foot lifeboat with a wounded zebra, a spotted hyena, a seasick orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger. The Fox 2000 film is a David Magee-scripted adaptation of Yann Martel's Mann Booker Prize-winning novel about a kid who sets sail from Pondicherry, India on a freighter bound for Canada along with his father's menagerie of zoo animals and gets stranded with those shipmates after an accident. I'm told that Sharma, a 17-year old student from Delhi, India, never acted before. He's got quite a journey in front of him after Lee chose him after auditioning 3000 teenagers. The film will shoot in January.Hey, look at that. They cast an actual Indian person to play the part of an Indian character! Amazing. This project has gone through several directors -- even M. Night Shyamalan was attached at one point. Glad to see they didn't pull a Last Airbender on this one.
Then again, maybe they'll give the role of the Bengal tiger to a white guy.