Life of Pi’s Suraj Sharma on Acting with a Fake Tiger and Beating Out 3,000 Actors for His Part: “It’s very difficult to believe”

Suraj-Sharma-Life-of-PiSome considered it a risky move for director Ang Lee to cast an unknown in his adaptation of the celebrated novel, Life of Pi but Suraj Sharma is already winning rave reviews as an Indian boy who is stranded on a lifeboat with a tiger for more than 200 days.

Sharma was picked for the role of Pi after more than 3,000 actors auditioned.  “I have been born and brought up in Delhi and my brother has acted in a couple of films,” he said.  “The auditions happened and the casting director was my brother’s friend and he’s been close to my family for a while.  I went for the auditions with my brother for moral support…I didn’t really want to act, but I don’t know, it happened.  They kept calling me back.”

“Two weeks later, they said, ‘Hey, Suraj you have to come to Taiwan.’  Funnily enough even then I didn’t believe I had got the role.  It’s very difficult to believe.  You don’t think things like that can happen to you.”

“I had never acted before, but I knew I would like it,” the 19-year-old said in an interview with Reuters.  “My brother and I would act to ourselves.  We would walk down streets being different people and that is the only acting I have ever done.  I got exposed to real movie-making and how things are done.  It’s a lot of people who come together, a lot of dreams that come together.  For me, I just want to be on set.  I don’t care what I would be.  If it’s acting, directing, if it is props I don’t care…Things might get better or worse, but this will always be there.  A part of me will always be stuck in Taiwan [where the film was shot], on that boat.”

Sharma had to film many scenes with a ‘fake’ tiger that would later be inserted with CGI.  “For the most part, we were shooting in a big blue tank with big blue walls around it and the blue sky above you,” he said.  “Everything was blue except for me and the raft.  We had four tigers being trained as reference.  I would watch them everyday—how they would react to the water, the atmosphere, how they moved.  I watched videos of tigers, I talked to the tiger trainer, etc. and so you assemble this huge picture in your head.  Initially it was a very conscious attempt to imagine the tiger on the boat.  But later, it became real to me.  By the end of it I didn’t need to imagine him.  For me it was real.”

Life of Pi hits theaters November 21.

Leave a Reply

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/julia-louis-dreyfus-veep.jpg
Julia Louis-Dreyfus: “Opportunity for women in television has increased. It’s because the landscape has widened”
"I did not come out of SNL as any kind of name. I didn’t do anything particularly great when I was there. I didn’t. It’s fine. But I learned a tremendous amount."
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Tituss-Burgess-Unbreakable-Kimmy-Schmidt.jpg
Tituss Burgess on How He Landed His ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ Role
Burgess reveals how his role on 30 Rock led to 'Kimmy Schmidt' and whether or not he'd consider returning to Broadway.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Christine-Baranski-The-Good-Wife.jpg
Christine Baranski on the End of ‘The Good Wife’ and Going Back to Theatre
The final episode of The Good Wife airs on May 8, and it’s been several weeks since series star Christine Baranski shot the final episode with her co-stars. She spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the end of the series she has spent the last seven years working on and what she plans to do […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/jake-gyllenhaal-demolition.jpg
Jake Gyllenhaal on ‘Demolition’, Working with Chris Cooper and Directors Who Want Nothing to Do With Him
"I think storytelling is the most important part of movie-making over performance." - Jake Gyllenhaal
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/don-cheadle-miles-davis.jpg
Don Cheadle: “Be scared. Be on the edge of your creativity”
"Be willing to fall flat on your face and be in an unknown place. If you're doing that, you're probably growing" - Don Cheadle