The writing journey of ‘Life of Pi’ scribe David Magee

Magee1
David Magee didn’t traverse the ocean by ramshackle boat to script the Ang Lee-directed “Life of Pi,” but he did bridge a few professional seas to make himself into the writer he is today.

“I was a mostly unemployed theater actor who was having a great time and earning nothing,” said the upbeat Magee (above right, with Lee and lead actor Suraj Sharma) in a Friday phone interview. “I did a lot of voiceover to support my acting habit, and out of that had opportunities to narrate audio books.”

Through that work, he found himself comparing the full-length edition of a book with the abridged version.

“I read the abridgement of this one novel that I liked and thought, ‘This is horrible, what this abridgment has done. This is terrible. I could do better than this,’” Magee recalled. “They asked, ‘Would you like to try?”

Over the next five or six years, Magee estimates, he did 80 abridgements, taking 200,000-word novels and eliminating more than 80% of the content. That became his screenwriting training, focusing on paring the dialogue, action and description, while remaining true to the story.

“I think if I had done it consciously, I never would have done it quite so well,” Magee said.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading