By Margaret Lyons
February 18, 2009 at 11:41 PM EST

Fans of tigers in lifeboats, rejoice! Ang Lee is in talks to direct the long-awaited film adaptation of Life of Pi. We’re filing this one under: “We’ll believe it when we see it.” I got my hopes up a few years ago when M. Night Shyamalan was still attached to the idea (don’t judge: This was before Lady in the Water!) and that resulted in a hot pile of nothing.

But I’m encouraged this time for a number of reasons. First, Lee’s ability to blend the magical with the corporeal is definitely a plus. One of the aspects I love about the book is that our hero, Pi Patel, is able to hold conflicting models of reality at once, whether it’s his omniverous religious beliefs at the beginning or the fantasy-tinged story that becomes the major action of the book. Lee has walked that line in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but I’m also reminded of how gently he treats head-versus-heart battles in Sense and Sensibility. Second, one of Lee’s specialties is quiet: The Ice Storm and Brokeback Mountain both go ages without dialogue. Pi has scene after scene of a teenage dude in a boat, and while his inner monologue is narrated for us in the book, any halfway decent adaptation will have to scale back on the constant “and then I thought” blathering.Finally, though, is the big reason I think Pi might actually get made now: It turns out there’s a market for a fairytale-leaning, occasionally violent, beating-the-odds story about an Indian teenager. Here’s hoping there’s a market for two.

What about you, PopWatchers? Think this Lee adaptation will ever come to fruition? Is he right for the job? Who would you cast in a Life of Pi movie?

addCredit(“Jamie McCarthy/”)