Lost at Sea- Part Two

Joy Hollowell

Updated 1 year ago

Steven Callahan survived 76 days adrift in a life boat.The Lamoine man wrote a best selling book about his experiences called “Adrift”.Film director Ang Lee was among those who read it.Lee went on to make “Life of Pi.”That led to a new adventure for Steve Callahan, navigating the high seas of Hollywood.Joy Hollowell has part two of her special report.+++”In 2009, I got a call from David Magee who has worked with Ang Lee since they’ve been in film school together.,” says Steven Callahan. “And David said, ‘Well Ang Lee, the director, wants to come up and talk to you about ocean survival.”Lee and Magee, the script writer for “Life of Pi,” flew out to Maine. The two men went sailing with Steven Callahan and his wife.”And I figured, OK, that was fun but that’s the last I’m ever going to see of these guys,” says Callahan with a laugh.That fall, Callahan got a call from Lee’s producer.”And he said, ‘we’ve gotten the green light, you wanna come to Taiwan? So I said- cool.’”Ang Lee talked with Callahan about his role in the film.”he said, it’s basically an Indian boy in a life boat in the middle of the ocean. So I really want the ocean to be a character. And that really intrigued me,” says Callahan. “Then when I got off the plane in Taiwan, I said, ‘OK Ang, what do you want me to do? And he goes- well, I want you to bring authenticity to the film.’”True to his word, Callahan says he would call out the award winning director on scenes that seemed a bit too Hollywood.”And they wouldn’t always accept what I would say exactly,” says Callahan with a grin, “but I was taken seriously.”Callahan’s official title was Survival and Marine consultant, although he ended up playing many roles on the set.”I ended up kind of directing operations for the wave tank and stuff,” he says, “which was kind of a surprise to me because I knew nothing about it, but nobody else did either,” he adds with a laugh.When Life of Pi was released last fall, Callahan watched his movie debut on the big screen in Bangor. “I wasn’t expecting the film to be real, but I wanted it to be more convincing then most films set on the water” he says. “And I think it achieved that.”These days, Callahan is on a new quest for survival. 15 months ago, he was diagnosed with leukemia.”I spent my 30th birthday in a life raft, I spent my 60th birthday is a hospital bed,” he says. “Definitely I draw on elements of being adrift in a lifeboat. No matter how bad it gets, as awful as it gets, there’s always something in the back of my mind going, yeah, but there’s some positive stuff going on in there.”+++Life of Pi ended up winning four Academy awards, including a Best Director statue for Ang Lee.If you’d like more information on Steven Callahan, go to www.stevencallahan.net.


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