Oscar-winning Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee said Wednesday he could not have made his new 3D film "Life of Pi" if he had opted for Hollywood as the shooting location rather than Taiwan. "The movie couldn't have been shot if it hadn't been in Taiwan... it couldn't have been done in Los Angeles," Lee said in Taipei during a visit to promote the movie which will hit US and Taiwanese theatres on November 21. He said the decision not to shoot the movie in Hollywood had allowed him and his crew to think outside the box. "If we had been in Hollywood, the tech team would probably think they were know-it-alls but in Taiwan they didn't and they were exploring from the start." About 70 percent of the movie was shot in Taiwan, including a now-abandoned airport in the centre of the country where Lee's team built a specially designed wave-generating tank. The movie is based on the Booker prize-winning novel by Yann Martel about an Indian boy adrift on a lifeboat in the Pacific with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan and a tiger. It features a newcomer, 17-year-old Suraj Sharma from India, in the lead role of Pi Patel, who was chosen out of 3,000 candidates during casting sessions across India. "The movie depends on Suraj. I would not shoot the film if it weren't for this person and his talent," Lee said. "He is very spirited... I was moved by his sincerity." The filmmaker, who is based in New York, was hailed as the "glory of Taiwan" after becoming the first Asian to win a best director Oscar for his gay cowboy drama "Brokeback Mountain" in 2007.