Warner Bros. in Talks with Joel Edgerton for SHANTARAM Adaptation; Johnny Depp to Produce

     September 5, 2013

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Joel Edgerton (Zero Dark Thirty) is in talks with Warner Bros. for an adaptation of Gregory David Roberts’ bestseller, Shantaram.  The thinly-veiled memoir centers on the protagonist Lin, who narrates his travels as an escaped Australian convict who flees to the bustling city of Bombay in order to escape into the protection of the criminal underworld.  Produced by Inifinitum Nihil partners Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski, and GK Films’ Graham King, Edgerton was personally tapped by Depp for the role, one which Depp himself previously considered taking.  Hit the jump for more.

Deadline reports that Edgerton is in talks with the studio for Shantaram.  Amitabh Bachchan (The Great Gatsby) was originally attached to co-star with Depp as Lin’s guide and loyal friend, Prabaker, before Warner Bros. scrapped the picture due to the writers’ strike.  Adapted by Eric Roth (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), the producers are now in search of a director.  As Lin goes from heroin addict to escaped con to mafia medicine man to eventually repelling Russian invaders from Afghanistan, it’s one helluva role for Edgerton to set his sites on.

shantaram-book-coverHere’s the synopsis for Gregory David Roberts’ novel, Shantaram (via Amazon):

“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured.”

So begins this epic, mesmerizing first novel set in the underworld of contemporary Bombay. Shantaram is narrated by Lin, an escaped convict with a false passport who flees maximum security prison in Australia for the teeming streets of a city where he can disappear.

Accompanied by his guide and faithful friend, Prabaker, the two enter Bombay’s hidden society of beggars and gangsters, prostitutes and holy men, soldiers and actors, and Indians and exiles from other countries, who seek in this remarkable place what they cannot find elsewhere.

As a hunted man without a home, family, or identity, Lin searches for love and meaning while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums, and serving his apprenticeship in the dark arts of the Bombay mafia. The search leads him to war, prison torture, murder, and a series of enigmatic and bloody betrayals. The keys to unlock the mysteries and intrigues that bind Lin are held by two people. The first is Khader Khan: mafia godfather, criminal-philosopher-saint, and mentor to Lin in the underworld of the Golden City. The second is Karla: elusive, dangerous, and beautiful, whose passions are driven by secrets that torment her and yet give her a terrible power.

Burning slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison agonies, criminal wars and Bollywood films, spiritual gurus and mujaheddin guerrillas—this huge novel has the world of human experience in its reach, and a passionate love for India at its heart. Based on the life of the author, it is by any measure the debut of an extraordinary voice in literature.

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