Director Ang Lee has cast the lead role for Fox 2000's bigscreen adaptation of Yann Martel's tome Life of Pi: 17-year-old newcomer Suraj Sharma, a student who lives with his mathematician parents, according to Variety.

Ang Lee will direct from a script by David Magee.

Life of Pi tells the story of a boy lost at sea in a lifeboat with four unusual and increasingly hungry companions -- a Bengal tiger, a hyena, a zebra and an orangutan -- after the ship carrying his family and its zoo animals sinks.

The novel, winner of the Man Booker Prize, was a global publishing phenom when Fox 2000's Elizabeth Gabler acquired rights. M. Night Shyamalan was previously attached to direct Life of Pi, but exited early on because of scheduling conflicts.

Ang Lee begins principal photography in January in Taiwan and India.