'Life of Pi' rookie star Suraj Sharma led to audition on promise of a free lunch

Nov. 12, 2012 at 10:34 AM ET

Who knew the lure of a Subway sandwich could turn into a life-changing moment? Certainly not Suraj Sharma, who went to a casting session for "Life of Pi" on the promise of a free lunch and ended up getting cast in the lead role.

"I basically just went with my brother because I was bored," Sharma revealed during a TODAY appearance with his co-star Irrfan Khan on Monday. "And the casting director ... he knows me and my family for a while so he said, 'You know, you should just audition.'"

And, as TODAY's Willie Geist noted, that lunch was, in fact, a Subway sandwich.

"Life of Pi" is based on the 2001 novel by Yann Martel, and charts the adventures of an Indian boy who loses his family in a shipwreck, then has to survive in a boat with a Bengal tiger. 

Sharma is brand-new to the movies, but says he didn't feel any pressure about having to appear as the only human on camera for a big portion of the film. "You don't feel any pressure because you're all in it together," he said. "You feel this sense of team, family."

"Life of Pi" opens on Nov. 21.

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