ADAPTING LIFE OF PI TO THE BIG SCREEN: I felt this was a very attractive book. When I first read it, I found it to be both fascinating and mind-boggling. It was my kind of thing to direct. I knew there would be a challenge dealing with animals and filming in 3-D.
PONDICHERRY BOTANICAL GARDENS DOUBLES AS A ZOO: I was surprised to discover there was no zoo as depicted in Yann Martel’s book. I envision that years from now tourists who have seen the movie will come to Pondicherry to look for a zoo from the Life of Pi. We also filmed in the Taipei zoo.
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT TAIWAN: The country has the nicest people anywhere, and they are very generous and lovely. There is a beautiful island feel. It’s a very comfortable place to visit. I personally favor the east coast of Taiwan as it is less developed.
TRY TAIWANESE FOOD: Taiwan has the best places to eat. During the [Chinese] Civil War, people fled to Taiwan to survive and brought culture and good food. The last 30 years have been very innovative, and we have seen a lot of Japanese influences. The small villages contain some of the most exquisite food. My favorite “little eats” in Taiwan are small seafood dishes.
MY FAVORITE DIRECTORS AND FILMS: I love Ingmar Bergman, Billy Wilder, and Stanley Kubrick. All of my films are my babies and I have no particular favorite, except for maybe Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
MY DREAM VACATION: That would be some lazy place, like a heavenly beach in the Caribbean. The problem is my wife likes a chalet in the mountains.
WHEN BUSINESS BECOMES PLEASURE: We are in an adventurous business where travel can be work. I love to direct — when I am working, everyone listens to me. But at home, no one pays attention!
I NEVER TRAVEL WITHOUT: My passport.