Weeks after winning the Academy Award for best director, Life of Pi's Ang Lee has taken on his first TV project.

Lee will direct the pilot for an FX drama series, Tyrant, about an unassuming American family drawn into the workings of a turbulent Middle East nation.

Producer Howard Gordon and writer Gideon Raff, both TV veterans as a creators of Emmy-winning Homeland, were able to woo Lee to TV for the first time with the director accepting the gig just after his Oscar win. Craig Wright, writer-producer of Lost, is also attached to the project.

Lee has had a notoriously eclectic film career, ranging from period drama Sense and Sensibility, to superhero film Hulk to Oscar winners Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi. His Life of Pi, an ambitious project that combined 3D with Canadian novelist Yann Martel’s fantastic story, won four Oscars and has grossed more than $600 million US at the worldwide box office.

Lure of cable TV

At a time when Hollywood movie studios seem more interested in superhero franchises than original film dramas, cable TV is looking increasingly attractive to talent from the film world.

Its rich character development and ground-breaking plotlines has attracted directors such as Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire), Michael Mann (Luck) and Gus Van Sant (Boss).

The Taiwanese director will head to Morocco before the end of the year to direct the pilot for Tyrant, which has yet to get the green light as a series. If it does get the go-ahead, Lee has also asked to step in as executive producer.

"Ang Lee has demonstrated time and again an ability to present characters with such depth and specificity that they reveal the universal human condition," said FX Networks president John Landgraf in a press release. "No one could be a more perfect filmmaker to bring Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff and Craig Wright's, Tyrant to indelible life."