Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Taiwan prays for redemption from “Life of Pi” movie


Ang LeeAbout the only thing Taiwanese in Yann Martel’s cultish epic novel “Life of Pi” is the captain of the ship that sinks, yet celebrated director Ang Lee has chosen Taiwan as the place to make a 3D film version of the award-winning book.

Much like the novel’s hero, a boy named Pi, Taiwan has something of a second chance  at making itself shine after years of diplomatic isolation that has kept its global economic competitiveness clinging to a life vest. It gets that chance when audiences see the movie, now scheduled for release in 2012. But Taiwan has a long way to go as China has stolen its spotlight with a rapid economic ascent since the 1990s. For long-standing political reasons, Beijing actively squelches its offshore neighbor’s international profile.

In the book, a freighter taking Indian boy Piscine Molitor “Pi” Patel, his family and a zoo of wild animals sinks while steaming from India across the Pacific Ocean to North America. Pi is left stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. He and the tiger survive 227 days at sea despite a natural distrust of each other as the boy gives the animal its space along with a sense of who’s boss.

About three quarters of the film will be shot on the beaches of Taiwan’s south coast and at a new studio fashioned from an old airport in the central Taiwan city Taichung, a publicist for 20th Century Fox Taiwan said. The other 25 percent takes place in India, and 17-year-old Indian-born actor Suraj Sharma, who was chosen from 3,000 applicants, will play Pi.

When two Hulks collide, which one rules?


norton.jpg The two movie versions of Marvel comic book character the Incredible Hulk can never truly battle on the streets, but at movie box offices and on the film review pages, the latest green giant in “The Incredible Hulk” is being compared to his 2003 predecessor in 2003′s “The Hulk.”

The critics are not universally pleased with “The Incredible Hulk,” directed by Louis Leterrier and starring Edward Norton. It opened on Friday and captured the No. 1 position at box offices with $55 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales. Then again, critics also had mixed praise for its predecessor, directed by Ang Lee and starring Eric Bana. Some reviewers described it as an art-house treatment of a superhero comic but opened to $62 million on its debut weekend.