Apple TV+ has tapped Charlie Hunnam to star in its television adaptation of the novel Shantaram. The Sons of Anarchy alum will star as Lin, an escaped Australian convict who flees to Bombay, India to avoid recapture. Separated from everyone he once knew, Lin opens a clinic in the city’s slums and becomes embroiled in the region’s teeming criminal underworld. He finds love in his double life but also faces torture and other hardships as he seeks meaning and a road to redemption. The novel is loosely based on the life of the author, Gregory David Roberts, who escaped from an Australian prison in 1980.
Joining Hunnam in the main cast are Australian actor Richard Roxburgh and Bollywood veteran Radhika Apte. Roxburgh will play Detective Sergeant Marty Nightingalem, who is charged with capturing Lin, while Apte will play Kavita, an Indian journalist. The series will be executive produced by Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle), who adapted the Shantaram for television. He will be joined by fellow EP and director Justin Kurzel (Assassins Creed). Dave Erickson, Nicole Clemens, Steve Golin, Richard Sharkey, and Andrea Barron round out the team of executive producers.
The novel was initially optioned as a movie by Warner Bros., with Johnny Depp attached as a producer and Joel Edgerton tapped to star. After that project went into turnaround, Paramount TV and Anonymous Content acquired the rights to adapt the novel for TV in 2018. At the time, Roberts expressed his enthusiasm for the acquisition, stating, “I’m honored and humbled in equal measure as a writer, and thrilled for the many readers who have hoped that Shantaram would become a vivid screen experience. Television is the perfect medium for the novel, and Steve Golin and Nicole Clemens at Anonymous Content are the perfect partners.”
In tandem with Shantaram, Paramount and Anonymous Content have also optioned Robert’s sequel novel The Mountain Shadow. The series is set to film in both India and Australia beginning in October.
The show will debut on Apple TV+, which is set to launch on November 1st of this year with several original series. There is currently no timetable for Shantaram’s release.