Taiwanese director Ang Lee is in the middle of putting his new movie "Life of Pi" together, after most of the location shooting in Taiwan and other countries has been put in the can. But he still has a few scenes he wants to reshoot in central Taiwan before he is finished.
The film is not due out for another year, so there is time. But there's a little problem with Taiwan's over-zealous paparazzi, who are called "dogs" in Chinese Mandarin.
News reports in Taiwan's always colorful and gossipy Chinese-language media say that Lee is now trying ''to decide whether to return to Taiwan to reshoot some scenes'' — with his major personal concern being ''the excessive media attention'' he receives in his homeland.
They love him in Taiwan, of course. Lee is the "pride of Taiwan" and a local boy who succeeded in Hollywood, of course.
And the media love him, too, and would never be out to do him wrong. In fact, they love him too much sometimes, and get carried away when he comes back to Taiwan to film a movie. They follow him everywhere, from hotel to location shoot, from bathroom to restaurant table. He doesn't like it very much when the attention goes ''overboard'' (no pun intended).
According to press reports in the Chinese-language media in Taiwan, during location shoots earlier this year in central Taiwan, Lee was apparently ''upset by the constant media presence and the paparazzi's hounding of the production crew, which resulted in a crew member being hit by a paparazzi vehicle.''
The Taiwanese people love Ang Lee and respect and admire him greatly, but sometimes it's too much.
The new Ang Lee film, scheduled for release December 2012, more than 12 months from now, is the first one Lee has shot in Taiwan since the start of his Hollywood career in the late 1990s.
According to media reports, "Most of the Taiwan shoots were done on a set at the former site of a giant airport hangar in central Taiwan, where some paparazzi "dogs" climbed the walls to take photos."
Lee has told friends in Hollywood and Taipei that ''it is for these reasons that I am a bit hesitant to return to my homeland to reshoot some of the scenes."
So will he come back to re-shoot some scenes, or will Lee redo them in Hollywood? Mum's the word, for now.
In related Lee news, it was a double whammy for Indian actor Priyanka Bose of "Gangor" fame. First, she bagged the Best Actress award at the New Jersey independent South Asian Film Festival for her performance in "Gangor", and later she joined Ang Lee for dinner where he also praised her for her performance in the Bengali movie.
Priyanka gushed privately to a friend: "My co-star, Adil Hussain, had invited me for a dinner at this cool Chinese restaurant in New York! It happened to be Ang Lee's birthday on Oct. 23. So this cake was shaped like a massive boat with a tiger sitting on it. That's because of "Life of Pi."
Lee's movie is based on the best-selling novel by Canadian novelist Yann Martel. It is the story of Pi Patel, the precocious son of a zookeeper, who is found adrift in the Pacific Ocean after a shipwreck on a 26-foot lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a 450-pound Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. The tiger on the birthday cake was supposedly symbolic of the one in Lee's movie!
Adds Priyanka, "It also had a hat which is Lee's trademark attire. It was really special meeting him. He said that he liked "Gangor" very much and appreciated my performance, too. That's a huge gratification for me. I am a huge fan of his work. After winning the award in New Jersey, Lee's comment was like an icing on the cake."