'Life of Pi' teen star lives out his own fairy tale
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Suraj Sharma went from being a regular teenager growing up in New Delhi to starring in Ang Lee's big-screen adaptation of the bestselling novel "Life of
The 17-year-old Sharma was picked from more than 3,000 hopefuls to play Pi, an Indian boy who finds himself stranded on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Bengal Tiger.Now 19, Sharma spoke to Reuters about the film, which opens in cinemas next month, acting with a computer-generated tiger and why "Life of Pi" may well be his first and last role.Q: How did this film came about?A: "I have been born and brought up in Delhi and my brother has acted in a couple of films. 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. And then they called and said you have to come to Mumbai to meet 'Dao Yan'. I call Mr Lee Dao Yan."Q: Yes, I noticed that. What does it mean?A: "It means Mr Director in Chinese. I don't like calling him Ang, there is something not respectful about that ... 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."Q: What was shooting in Taiwan like?A: "I did three months of training -- learnt swimming, sea skills, raft work -- I even learnt how to fillet fish. I also ate raw fish, but let's not talk about that. There was weight gain and eventually weight loss. I came in very skinny, like a weak little runt (laughs)."Somehow we all went through Pi's journey together. There were many times where I felt that all of (us) together were Pi.
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