February 24, 2013

Academy Awards: And another Mainer hoping for a piece of the Oscar 'Pi'

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

One of the films standing in the way of Eric Saindon's chance for a visual effects Oscar is "Life of Pi."

Shipwreck survivor Steven Callahan of Lamoine served as marine consultant for director Ang Lee on “Life of Pi.”

Fox 2000 Pictures

click image to enlarge

A scene from “Life of Pi.”

Fox 2000 Pictures

And one of the key consultants on that shipwreck epic -- who survived a shipwreck himself and is currently battling complications from leukemia -- is Steven Callahan of Lamoine.

The film is nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, in addition to Best Visual Effects.

Callahan, 60, is a writer and marine designer who spent 76 days adrift after a shipwreck more than 30 years ago. It was his book about that experience, "Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea," that helped convince "Life of Pi" director Ang Lee to hire Callahan as marine consultant for the film.

Callahan was in Taiwan for several months in 2011 to participate in the filming. He gave feedback on the script, helped write a survival manual used by the main character, and consulted on everything from boat and raft construction to weather conditions and how nautical things should appear.

Because of his ongoing battle to recover from leukemia -- he had a stem cell transplant last June, and was hospitalized for complications earlier this year -- Callahan's immune system is too fragile to allow him to travel to the Oscars in Los Angeles. But he hopes to watch the ceremony with his wife at home.

"I'd love the film to win, of course, but I'm very happy with the film and what it's done so far," said Callahan. "I'm just really proud of it and of everyone who worked on it."

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:


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