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For Ang Lee, all movies are a leap of faith

November 20, 2012 • Entertainment


FILE – This April 26, 2012 file photo shows Ang Lee posing for a portrait backstage at CinemaCon 2012, the official convention of the National Association of Theater Owners in Las Vegas. Lee is the director the the film, “Life of Pi.” (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file)

NEW YORK (AP) — Is there anything Ang Lee can’t do?

The pithy answer might be: Large, angry, green men. Yes, Lee’s “Hulk” was not well received. But in his incredibly varied filmography, Lee has steadily steered films that could very well have turned disastrous into box-office hits and Oscar bait.

Combining martial arts with drama? “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” became the highest grossing foreign language film ever, more than double any previous foreign film. A film about gay cowboys? “Brokeback Mountain” went on to be nominated for eight Oscars, winning three including best director.

Few filmmakers have been so drawn to such delicate material where even slight shifts in tone or execution could mean the difference between a hit or a flop. That couldn’t be truer for Lee’s new film, “Life of Pi,” a supreme balancing act for a filmmaker accustomed to working on tightropes.

In an interview the day after “Life of Pi” premiered at the New York Film Festival in September, Lee sat down with obvious relief. Asked how he was doing, Lee exhaled: “Better than I thought.”

The first screening had gone well: the 3-D “Life of Pi” was greeted as a success and immediately added to the Oscar race. For even Lee, knowing which side of the sword a film of his will fall isn’t clear until the first audience sees it.

“I’ve been holding this anxiety for a long time. It’s an expensive movie,” says Lee. “It’s Login to read more

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