Tobey Maguire axed from ‘Life Of Pi’ by director Ang Lee

His part in the Oscar contender will now be played by British actor Rafe Spall

Tobey Maguire‘s part in the film adaptation of Life Of Pi has been cut by director Ang Lee.

Lee, the Oscar-winning director of Brokeback Mountain, is adapting Life Of Pi from the fantasy novel of the same name by author Yann Martel. The film, due for release in November (2012), is being tipped as a potential Oscar contender.

Maguire had shot a small role as a writer who interviews the movie’s protagonist, but his scenes have been discarded. The part will now be played by British actor Rafe Spall, whose previous film credits include supporting roles in One Day and Prometheus.

In a statement, Lee told The Hollywood Reporter: “To be consistent with the other casting choices made for the film, I decided to go with an entirely international cast. I very much admire Tobey and look forward to working with him again in the future.”

In a statement of his own, Maguire insisted that he had no hard feelings, adding: “I fully support Ang’s decision to go a different direction for this role in Life of Pi. Ang shared a lot of the film with me, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful.”

However, a production insider is said to have told The Hollywood Reporter that Lee deemed Maguire “too famous” next to his relatively unknown castmates on the film.

The actor and director worked together previously on 1997’s The Ice Storm. Maguire will next be seen in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby, which was originally scheduled for release on Christmas Day (2012), but has now been delayed until next summer (2013).