Though the film Life of Pi was shot in Taiwan, I just learned about the screenplay’s Midwest roots. Not only was David Magee born in Flint, Michigan but:
“Magee has had an unusual career path for a screenwriter. A graduate of the University of Illinois (where he studied theater around the same time as Lee did), he started out as an actor with, as he puts it, ‘just enough success to be constantly poor.’ To supplement his income, be began narrating audio books. One day, he had enough: ‘I said, this is a terrible abridgement of this book. It doesn’t make any sense. The characters are suddenly appearing in the scene when they weren’t before. It’s awful. I mean I could do better than this.’ And the person in charge said, ‘Well, why don’t you try?’ Magee did, and a parallel career was born; starving actor by day, ruthless editor by night, wielding his red pencil with surgical precision to get the essence of the material.
Five years later and more than eighty audio books later, Magee emerged a different person, a writer, Magee’s very first screenplay, Finding Neverland, about the adventures of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, was eventually made into a movie starring Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, which earned him nominations for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 2004.”
The Making Life of Pi: A Film, A Journey
P.S. My guess is the script for Life of Pi, based on the novel by Yann Martel, will bring Magee his second Oscar-nomination.