Joel Edgerton to star in “Shantaram” hit novel adaptation

Joel Edgerton to star in “Shantaram” hit novel adaptation

PanARMENIAN.Net - Warner Bros is in talks with Joel Edgerton to star in Shantaram, an adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel that is being produced by Inifinitum Nihil partners Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski, and GK Films’ Graham King, Deadline said.

Following a couple of stalled attempts to get this movie up and running after the studio paid $2 million for the rights in 2004, Depp himself jump started the process by personally courting Edgerton to play a role Depp once intended to play before the film was derailed by the Writer’s Strike.

Edgerton is being courted for the lead role of a remarkable protagonist who, at the time the book became a sensation in Hollywood, was said to have been modeled after the author in a thinly veiled memoir. He starts as an Australian heroin addict who escapes a maximum-security prison, reinvents himself as a doctor in the slums of India and eventually uses gun-running and counterfeiting skills to fight against the invading Russian troops in Afghanistan.

“In 1978, gifted student and writer Greg Roberts turned to heroin when his marriage collapsed, feeding his addiction with a string of robberies. Caught and convicted, he was given a nineteen-year sentence. After two years, he escaped from a maximum-security prison, spending the next ten years on the run as Australia's most wanted man.

Hiding in Bombay, he established a medical clinic for slum-dwellers, worked in the Bollywood film industry and served time in the notorious Arthur Road prison. He was recruited by one of the most charismatic branches of the Bombay mafia for whom he worked as a forger, counterfeiter, and smuggler, and fought alongside a unit of mujaheddin guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan. His debut novel, Shantaram, is based on this ten-year period of his life in Bombay. The result is an epic tale of slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison torture, mafia gang wars and Bollywood films. A gripping adventure story, Shantaram is also a superbly written meditation on good and evil and an authentic evocation of Bombay life,” a synopsis published in Powell’s Books says.

Edgerton, who most recently starred in The Great Gatsby and Zero Dark Thirty, is Australian-born and fits the model of the protagonist very well. The script is by Eric Roth. Back when Depp was going to star, Peter Weir was once set to direct. He’s long gone, and they will look for a director now.

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