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Ang Lee Takes A Bold Risk With Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Ang Lee

For his latest film, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, Ang Lee has deployed an all-new technology that he calls "The Whole Shebang" for its ability to fully immerse the audience in the story. "Whole Shebang means 120 frames-per-second, 4K, 3D," Lee says of the hyper-definition process, which to the eye looks almost unnervingly real. "We haven't come up with a sexier name."

Ang Lee will release Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk in JanuaryAng Lee will release Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk in January

Lee's goal was to bring the audience into the movie, which is an exploration of post-traumatic stress disorder as a 19-year-old veteran of the Iraq War (played by newcomer Joe Alwyn) is brought home and paraded as a hero in front of the crowd at an American football game.

Continue reading: Ang Lee Takes A Bold Risk With Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Academy Apologises For "Tone-Deaf" Asian Jokes During Telecast

Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences Chris Rock George Takei Ang Lee

The organisers of The Oscars have apologised for the “tone-deaf” portrayal of Asians in various jokes at this year’s ceremony, after a group of actors and filmmakers of Asian descent complained of being offended.

The Academy was embroiled in a vociferous diversity row in the run-up to the 2016 awards, which were held at the end of February, after all 20 acting nominees were white for the second year in a row. Though it subsequently pledged to double its number of women and minority members by the end of the decade, it has once again found itself at the centre of controversy.

Chris RockSome members of the Asian community were outraged at one of Chris Rock's jokes at the Oscars

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No Animals Were Harmed? Ugh, Tiger Was Nearly Killed On 'Life Of Pi'

Ang Lee

The Life of Pi on-set monitor who emailed a colleague to say that King - the Bengal tiger used on the movie - "damn near drowned" during shooting has left the American Human Association.

Ang LeeAng Lee With His Oscar for Best Director, for 'Life of Pi'

Gina Johnson, whose email kicked off The Hollywood Reporter's Animals Were Harmed package, is no longer an AHA employee, the organization confirmed on Tuesday, a day after the story hit newsstands. 

Continue reading: No Animals Were Harmed? Ugh, Tiger Was Nearly Killed On 'Life Of Pi'

Dark Rooms, Bans And Bolshy Women: How The Cannes Jury Choose The Palme D'Or Winner

Stephen Frears Cannes Film Festival Steven Spielberg Quentin Tarantino Coen Brothers Nicole Kidman Ang Lee David Fincher Nicolas Winding Refn Michael Gray Steven Soderbergh Alexander Payne

What it's like to sit on the jury at the Cannes Film Festival and have the power to present the director of the very best movie with the prestigious Palme d'Or? This year, Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz bring a touch of Hollywood A-list glamor to the event and will spent 10 days in darkened screening rooms debating each of the movies in competition.

British director Stephen Fears headed the jury in 2007, when he and his team chose Romanian movie 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days as the Palme d'Or winner ahead of the Coen's No Country For Old Men, David Fincher's Zodiac, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof. "They were very anti-American, the jury. But I kept saying that American films are watched all over the world. This cut no ice with a few bolshy women on the jury," Frears told the BBC ahead of the Festival this week, "I don't know, you try and behave sensibly. I hear all those stories about people manipulating things, but there didn't seem to be any of that. There were no orders from above - nobody tried to interfere, but there were a few basic rules which you had to follow," he added.

Sitting in a darkened room and watching the very best movies of the year before anyone else sounds pretty fantastic right? "'re terrified of is going to sleep," said Frears, " I had coffee brought to me to stay awake - it was manageable. I didn't write notes but I had a friend with me and she and I would discuss the film afterwards." On whether he still recognised that he had chosen the best movie in competition, Frears was unequivocal, saying, "Oh yes, it was a wonderful, original film. I'm sure it benefitted from winning, it was a very accessible film. I'm sure if you spoke to distributors, I'm sure they would say Michael Haneke's film [2012 Palme d'Or and Oscar-winner] Amour has done really well."

Continue reading: Dark Rooms, Bans And Bolshy Women: How The Cannes Jury Choose The Palme D'Or Winner

The Iconic Mingle With The Indie On This Year's Cannes Jury

Steven Spielberg Ang Lee Nicole Kidman

The jury, which will seal the fate of all Cannes entrants has been decided. The power now lies with a mix of directors and actors, which includes Ang Lee (Best Director Oscar this year); former Palme d'Or winner Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days); Scottish helmer Lynne Ramsay (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase. And the best bit, which we’ve known for a while now, Steven Spielberg will preside over the festivities.

The directors won’t have the only say in this year’s decision though, as the rest of the Cannes jury is comprised of Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Christoph Waltz, French star Daniel Auteuil and Bollywood blockbuster actress Vidya Balan. That seems like a good representative sample of the film industry, with lots of professionals coming from outside of Hollywood as well as some household names. It is definitely a diverse bunch, appropriate for the colorful roster of films premiering at the festival – from Sofia Coppola’s glitzy crime flick The Bling Ring to Controversial Japanese director Takashi Miike's Straw Shield.

All in all, there is lots to look out for at this year’s festival and, whether the jury are qualified or not, they should have a pretty tough time deciding the winner of the Golden Palm.

Continue reading: The Iconic Mingle With The Indie On This Year's Cannes Jury

Cannes Jury Boasts Stellar Line-Up Featuring Nicole Kidman And Ang Lee

Nicole Kidman Ang Lee Christoph Waltz Baz Luhrmann Steven Spielberg

This year’s Cannes jury boasts some high profile talent, spanning eight different nationalities. The Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman is perhaps the best known of the line-up and she will be joined by the Austrian actor Christoph Waltz (star of Django Unchained) and the Taiwanese director Ang Lee (Life Of Pi). The jury will be led by Steven Spielberg (E.T.) and will be fleshed out with film veterans from another five countries.

The Indian actress Vidya Balan will not only appear on the jury but will also be at the festival marking 100 years of the Bollywood genre at a gala screening, Entertainment Weekly reports. The Japanese director Naomi Kawase has won the Camera D’Or prize in the past (1997) and the Grand Prize (2007) and will now be taking a place on the judging panel. Similarly, Lynne Ramsey, whose movie We Ned To Talk About Kevin was highly praised at 2011’s Cannes festival. They will be joined by the French actor Daniel Auteil, who won the Best Actor award at Cannes in ’96 and three-times Cannes winner Cristian Mungiu.

This year’s festival will be opened by the highly anticipated Baz Luhrmann movie The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, on May 15. The festival runs until May 26, when it will close with Forest Whitaker and Orlando Bloom’s Zulu, a political thriller. 

Continue reading: Cannes Jury Boasts Stellar Line-Up Featuring Nicole Kidman And Ang Lee

Cannes Jury Confirmed – Hollywood Directors And International Stars In Fine Balance

Steven Spielberg Ang Lee

The presiding jury for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival have been finalized, and it would be fair to say the list is dominated by film directors. But that’s not to say those in front of the camera won’t have their say.

Of the directors involved, we have: Stephen Spielberg – Mr President; Ang Lee – who beat Mr President to best director at the Oscars; Cristian Mungiu - a former Palme d'Or winner; Lynne Ramsay - (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase – a regular at Cannes. The actors circle includes: Nicole Kidman, Christoph Waltz, Daniel Auteuil and Bollywood actress Vidya Balan. And there you have it; the nine judges who will decide the winners at this year’s Cannes festival. This is tipped to be a huge year for the prestigious French film gathering; we’ll see huge debuts from the likes of Steven Soderbergh, Roman Polanski, Alexander Payne and the Coen Brothers, not to mention much-anticipated bows from Denmark's Nicolas Winding Refn and Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. We’re already excited.

Steven SpielbergAng Lee
These two will have to put their Oscars past behind them

Continue reading: Cannes Jury Confirmed – Hollywood Directors And International Stars In Fine Balance

Ang Lee To Make TV Directorial Debut With Tyrant

Ang Lee

Oscar-winning director Ang Lee has signed up for his first TV directorial job after it was announced that he will direct the pilot episode of new series, Tyrant.

Ang Lee
Ang Lee to make TV debut

According to the BBC, the show is going to be Lee's first project since last year’s Life of Pi, which saw the Taiwanese filmmaker win his second Academy Award last month. The TV show is set to be one based around cultural and political conflict, focusing on an everyday American family who find themselves caught up amidst the middle of a turbulent Middle Eastern nation.

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Ang Lee TV Series Is On, David Fury Blurts News On Twitter

Ang Lee

In his constant quest for originality, Oscar winning director Ang Lee finds him self on the small screen for his next project. He's directing the pilot for Tyrant - a project from the minds of the Homeland team.

Well, two of them anyway: Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff - two of the producers of the CIA drama - are working on the pilot, which will land on the FX network. Also producing is David Fury, who let the cat out of the bag on Twitter, clearly unable to hide his excitement, "News I can no longer contain: the director for the pilot of TYRANT, my current gig, will be none other than... ANG LEE!!! #youheardme" he posted.

In a far more measured show of excitement, FX chief John Landgraf said in a statement: "Ang Lee has demonstrated time and again an ability to present characters with such depth and specificity that they reveal the universal human condition. No one could be a more perfect filmmaker to bring Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, and Craig Wright's Tyrant to indelible life." Before Life of Pi, Lee directed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Jane Austen adaptation Sense and Sensibility and comic book blockbuster Hulk.

Continue reading: Ang Lee TV Series Is On, David Fury Blurts News On Twitter

Ang Lee's In-N-Out Oscars: Best Director Celebrates With Burger And Soda!

Ang Lee

Ang Lee's In-N-Out visit capped an altogether fantastic night for the filmmaker, whose movie Life of Pi scooped four awards in total, including Best Director. A delighted looking Ang was snapped by chowing down on an In-N-Out patty while clutching onto his golden statuette in Los Angeles.

Lee, clad in his Academy Awards tuxedo, also had a couple of sodas to wash down the burger - and who can blame him?  Magical 3-D epic Life of Pi took home the most awards of the night, with Ang's win over Steven Spielberg in the Best Director category perhaps the biggest shocker. It was a truly well-deserved win for the Taiwanese-born American, arguably the first filmmaker to realise the possibilities of the new movie technology. Life of Pi also secured the Oscars for Sound Editing, Visual Effects and Best Original Score, composed by Mychael Danna. 

Elsewhere at the ceremony, Daniel Day-Lewis made Hollywood history by becoming the first man to collect the Best Actor accolade on three separate occasions. Jennifer Lawrence fended off stiff competition from Emmanuelle Riva for Best Actress, while Anne Hathaway won Best Supporting Actress. Ben Affleck and George Clooney's Argo was named Best Picture.

Continue reading: Ang Lee's In-N-Out Oscars: Best Director Celebrates With Burger And Soda!

Zero Dark Thirty Wins Only One Oscar Through Rare Tied Award

Kathryn Bigelow Academy Of Motion Pictures And Sciences Ben Affleck Steven Spielberg Daniel Day Lewis Ang Lee

If there’s anything worse that winning just one Oscar after your film was nominated for five, it's winning Best Sound Editing, and if there’s anything more embarrassing that that, it’s winning Best Sound Editing in a rare tied award with Skyfall.

Zero Dark Thirty’s failure at the 85th Academy Awards can be attributed, at least in part, to a trio of US senators, who, on December 19 last year, complained that the film was “grossly inaccurate” for implying torture played a part in tracking down the al-Qa’ida leader. The controversy surrounding the political implications of her film, led director Kathryn Bigelow to write a piece in the Los Angeles Times. “Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement. If it was, no artist would be able to paint inhumane practices, no author could write about them, and no filmmaker could delve into the thorny subjects of our time.”


Continue reading: Zero Dark Thirty Wins Only One Oscar Through Rare Tied Award

So Which Idiot Deemed 'Life Of Pi' Unfilmable?

Ang Lee Suraj Sharma Tobey Maguire

Ang Lee's Life of Pi is expected to make a strong debut at the box office this weekend, with cinemagoers anxious to see what the Taiwanese filmmaker has done with a story once deemed "unfilmable". The film is based on Yann Martel's 2001 novel that has sold more than seven million copies worldwide and spent years on the bestseller list. It follows the story of a young Indian boy who is trusted with moving his family's zoo to Canada, though when the ship sinks, he finds himself on a lifeboat with a fully grown Bengal tiger. Yikes.

Though it seems like a pretty straight narrative, Martel's novel is awash with religious connotations, existentialism and a twist ending. Getting the story to the big screen has been a long and arduous process, with M Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Curaron and Jean-Pierre Jeunet all signing on as directors before bailing on the project. Each prospective director ran into their own difficulties and found problems getting Life of Pi into a coherent Hollywood movie. One challenge was casting: which actor could take up the role of young Pi without taking away from the unique story? Ang Lee decided to eschew the regular Hollywood casting process and went with the completely unknown Suraj Sharma. According to E! Online, Tobey Maguire shot several scenes as the writer who interviews the adult Pi Patel, though Lee decided against having the former Spiderman star in the movie. 

Another challenge that faced Lee was the Bengal tiger, which features prominently in the movie. Other passengers on the ship include a zebra, hyena and an orang-utan and the filmmaker decided to make CGI creations. Sharma told the New York Daily News, "The first thing I learned was how to act opposite no one. I didn't think I could do it, but Ang gets what he wants. So it was new for me - but it was doable". 

Continue reading: So Which Idiot Deemed 'Life Of Pi' Unfilmable?

Let's Talk Life Of Pi With Ang Lee

Ang Lee Suraj Sharma

Life of Pi is one of the hottest films out at the moment, and such are the glowing reviews from the critics, it's even being talked up as a possible Oscar contender, taking on the strong favourite, Lincoln, directed by Steven Spielberg. Ang Lee caught up with USA Today to talk about the huge task of filming the 'unfilmable' book.

They say 'unfilmable,' but with today's technology, nothing can really labelled as such, although that's not to say bringing such a popular book to life wasn't a monolithic task. "Sometimes we go through things in life that are equivalent to that journey," Lee says, envying Suraj Sharma's character. "You wish the test could be as simple as drifting across the ocean with a Bengal tiger. Sometimes things feel harder. Such as making this movie." One of the most prominent aspects of the film noted by the critics in their near unanimous praise, is the excellent work in making the Bengal tiger so life like. "It's still handcraft. There's no button to push. There's not a program to make an animal look real," Lee explained. "Every frame is a labor of love. Some shots took three months, some six months."

It seems as though Life of Pi was destined to be a success, given the amount of strife that went into making it. The film's fledgling star only came to the audition because his brother promised a free lunch, and he nearly faced expulsion from his university while on promoting duties; a fate he avoided by handing in eight essays at once. Life of Pi hit cinemas on Nov. 21st, and comes to the U.K in just under a months time, on Dec. 20th. 

Life Of Pi Star Narrowly Avoids Expulsion From School!

Suraj Sharma Ang Lee

Ang Lee's Life of Pi is enjoying a tremendous time with the critics, as they build a strong case for the film as an Oscar contender, but the film's star, Suraj Sharma has things other than Hollywood fame to worry about; he's only just managing to stay in school!

At 19, Sharma is still deciding on his life's focus; whether he continues to act or carry on down the academic route, but that decision was nearly made for him, with his failure to attend lectures at his Delhi university nearly landing him in hot water with the school's principle. Mr Sharma met with the top man six times in three days to bolster his case, and handed in eight essays in bulk to save his skin. "I expect him to take his life as a student seriously," the principle explained, according to The Telegraph. "It's in no one's interest to hold people back and [also] in no one's interest to make a mockery of the system. All of us have to be responsible for whatever commitments we have undertaken. Work is the medium of growth and empowerment. Anyone interested in the well-being and long-term happiness of a young person will not dilute the requirements of work at St Stephen's there is a great emphasis on character formation," he said.

One of these essays, he said, was an account of how hard he had worked to shape the character of Pi. "He had not cleared the requirement until 10 minutes ago. He submitted eight essays and I'm delighted. I've accepted them altogether, which is not usual," added the principle. 

Is Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi' The New 'Slumdog Millionaire'?

Ang Lee Dev Patel Danny Boyle Suraj Sharma Ben Affleck Steven Spielberg

Ang Lee makes his latest assault on awards' season this week, when Life Of Pi hits theaters in the U.S. The magical 3-D tale is tipped for nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Oscars, though getting the public on-side and recording a large box-office opening would ultimately help its cause.

The movie - based on Yann Martel's thrilling novel of the same name - follows a young boy named Pi who sails from India to Canada with a cargo of zoo animals. When the ship sinks, he finds himself alone on a life-raft with only a Bengal tiger for company. Comparisons are already being made with Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire, the multi-Academy Award winning 2008 movie that explored similar themes. Both films have young Indian lead characters who undergo intense inner journeys, as well as the literal adventures playing out on-screen. Both actors - Dev Patel in Slumdog and Suraj Sharma in Pi - were making their feature film debuts, though the former had some experience of television, whereas Sharma had next to no acting on his CV. Both films are visually stunning, with Danny Boyle's classic knocking the Academy for six with its rich colours and depiction of the hustle and bustle of Mumbai life. Ang Lee ultimately went down the 3-D route and anyone who has witnessed the preview trailer screening this year were utterly convinced he had made the correct decision. The vast seascape lends itself well to the new format and Lee has plenty of experience in making movies with aesthetics in mind. In terms of narratives, both movies are told through flashbacks with the tales eventually having religious connotations or messages.

Slumdog Millionaire was a true sleeper hit; a movie that appeared to come from nowhere before generating rapid pace as it hurtled towards awards' season. The Artist did something similar this year, as did The Hurt Locker in 2008. However, if Life of Pi is to challenge for Best Picture in February it will not be on the back of word of mouth - moviegoers will know how they feel about the movie pretty soon, with three months still to go before the Oscars. It sits at around fifth favorite with the bookmakers to win the biggest movie prize of them all, but Ben Affleck's Argo (the sleeper) and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln (the blockbuster) appear to have the bases covered.

Continue reading: Is Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi' The New 'Slumdog Millionaire'?

Can Life Of Pi Upset The Odds And Win At The Oscars?

Ang Lee Steven Spielberg Ben Affleck Paul Thomas Anderson

It's the time of the year when every major film release is subject to more rumour space than normal, as Argo and Lincoln are mooted to dominate at the Academy Awards come 2013, but is Ang Lee's Life of Pi a viable contender?

One look at the reviews would certainly suggest that odds of up to 12/1 could be a decent wager, considering Ben Affleck's Argo and Steven Spielberg's Lincoln are as short as 7/4 and 9/4 respectively. With a positive score of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems as though Life of Pi is worthy of any Oscars talk that comes it way. "Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" is a miraculous achievement of storytelling and a landmark of visual mastery," say The Chicago Sun Times in a 4/4 review, while The Los Angeles Times give it 5/5, saying, "There are always moral crosscurrents in Lee's most provocative work, but so magical and mystical is this parable, it's as if the filmmaker has found the philosopher's stone." Entertainment weekly say, simply, "Everything looks beautiful in Life of Pi."

Perhaps a more impressive outsider is Paul Thomas Anderson's, The Master, which started off in pole position to win Best Film, but it's since slipped into a position of obscurity in terms of Oscar standings. We wouldn't be surprised to see Lincoln clean up, though, as politically emotive films usually do, and considering the recent re-election of Obama, it's on-topic and on-pace to dominate come February. Please note, odds are correct at time of writing and may fluctate. In fact, they will fluctuate. 

Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi' Premieres At New York Film Festival

Ang Lee James Cameron Gerard Depardieu Irrfan Khan

Academy Award winner Ang Lee hit the red carpet on the opening night of the New York Film Festival on Friday night, kick starting the film fest with his latest film, The Life of Pi.

The film, based upon the Yann Martel novel of the same name, explores the life of an India boy named Pi who spends 227 days at sea with his only company being a Bengal tiger, spotted hyena, a zebra and an orang-utan, after becoming shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean. The book, often considered to be un-filmable, explores deep strands of spiritual understanding and reason; something that Ang has tried to recreate on the screen. The film has been a massive undertaking and was shot entirely in 3D as director Lee believed that this method was the only way in which the vibrancy of the novel could be fully expressed on screen. It is thought to have cost up to $100million and took close to four years to make.

Speaking to reporters at the premier, Lee said that he had envisaged the project as soon as he read it back in 2001 and allegedly already agreed to make the film in 3D before James Cameron's Avatar was released in 2009.

Continue reading: Ang Lee's 'Life Of Pi' Premieres At New York Film Festival

Life of Pi Trailer

Pi Patel is the son of an Indian zookeeper who gets caught up in a destructive storm at sea on board a freighter. He is the only human survivor as the vessel sinks easily into the Pacific Ocean managing to escape on a lifeboat with a spotted hyena, an injured zebra, an orang-utan and a Bengal tiger. The animals begin eating each other and Pi soon finds himself in the company of only the tiger which soon becomes his friend and companion as he takes a firm approach into taming the creature.

Continue: Life of Pi Trailer

Lust, Caution Review

Halfway through Lust, Caution, Ang Lee's follow-up to Brokeback Mountain, Mr. Yee, a collaborator with the Japanese in WWII Shanghai, throws the flirtatious wife of a businessman onto a bed and proceeds to have sex with her, precariously straddling the fence between rough sex and rape. Mr. Yee (the inimitable Tony Leung) and the woman, Wang (Tang Wei), will go on to have a dark and detailed set of trysts, each more carnal and sweatier than the last. Lee's camera doesn't show a hint of timidity as it sways around every curve and canal of each lover's body, at times so penetrating that one wonders if Lee's precursor was Michael Winterbottom's Nine Songs. It's not Ledger spitting in his hand before he gives it to Gyllenhaal, but it's not far off.

But before we ever get to see these thrashing entanglements, we are plummeted into the early rumblings of the Chinese resistance to the Japanese occupation. Little does Yee know that the woman he is tossing around the bedroom would love nothing more than to feel his blood splatter all over her in the middle of one of their sessions. See, Wang was once a schoolgirl with aspirations in acting, sparked by collegiate cutie Kuang (Wang Leehom), a director who wrote (terrible) plays about the damages of the war and subsequent occupation on the normal Chinese family. While discussing politics in a theater balcony, Kuang and his actors turned from thespians into resistance fighters, planning the assassination of the traitorous Yee.

Continue reading: Lust, Caution Review

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Ang Lee Movies

Life of Pi Movie Review

Life of Pi Movie Review

Working with perceptive writer David Magee (Finding Neverand), Ang Lee creates one of the most...

Life of Pi Trailer

Life of Pi Trailer

Pi Patel is the son of an Indian zookeeper who gets caught up in a...

Taking Woodstock Trailer

Taking Woodstock Trailer

Watch the trailer for Taking WoodstockWoodstock Festival was almost not meant to be, originally the...

Lust, Caution Movie Review

Lust, Caution Movie Review

Halfway through Lust, Caution, Ang Lee's follow-up to Brokeback Mountain, Mr. Yee, a collaborator with...