Ang Lee Casts Newcomer as Lead in 'The Life of Pi'

[caption id="attachment_14006" align="alignleft" width="220" caption="Fox"]Suraj Sharma[/caption]

Director Ang Lee is serving up an unknown actor to play Pi in his big-screen adaptation of Yann Martel's allegorical novel "The Life of Pi."

USA Today reports that after auditioning more than 3,000 young men, Lee has selected 17-year-old Delhi student Suraj Sharma as the lucky actor who gets stranded on a boat for 227 days with ravenous zoo animals.

"The Life of Pi" tells the story of 16-year-old Pi Patel, whose zookeeping family sets sail from India to Canada but their ship sinks along the way. Pi's parents and most of the animals drown, but he manages to hop aboard a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, Orange Juice the orangutan, and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker.

A spiritual tale combining elements of Hindu, Christianity, and Islam, Pi is faced with the challenge of making it to dry land while avoiding becoming Parker's last supper. And frankly, if we were trapped on a boat with O.J. and a ferocious tiger, we'd probably find religion pretty quickly too.

Lee, who last directed 2009's "Taking Woodstock," is set to begin shooting the 3-D film in January.

"How exactly I'm going to do it, I don't know," he has said, according to the Guardian. "A little boy adrift at sea with a tiger. It's a hard one to crack!"