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Joel Edgerton May Star In Johnny Depp's Previously Deep-Sixed Drug Addict Crime Flick 'Shantaram'

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by Edward Davis
September 5, 2013 6:59 PM
4 Comments
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Felony Joel Edgerton

While some projects die on the vine and enter the hallowed "what if" halls of legendary projects that never got made, some eventually come creaking back to life. The latest lucky one to defy the odds is "Shantaram," a former Johnny Depp-led project that Warner Bros. is reviving. And while Depp has stepped back in the producers chair for his Inifinitum Nihil production shingle, he has handpicked a new lead: Aussie Joel Edgerton, whose stock in Hollywood just keeps rising and rising.

Here's what we wrote about "Shantaram" in a 2010 piece about Ten Dead Projects We'd Like To See Resurrected:

An extraordinary true story, “Shantaram” followed a drug addict bank robber who took on multiple identities to evade cops in several countries, eventually settling in Mumbai where he practiced medicine for the locals. The script by Eric Roth (“Forrest Gump”) was much buzzed-about, and Peter Weirbecame attached, but the studio could never agree on the budget for what was definitely R-rated material. As the studio dithered, Depp quickly attached himself to a host of other projects, though “Shantaram” was always a possibility, even if Weir gave way to Mira Nair (“Vanity Fair”). It wasn’t until Disney’s plans to shoot two 'Pirates' sequels back-to-back that “Shantaram” breathed its last breath at a studio.

According to Deadline, Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan was once set to co-star alongside Depp in the movie, but Depp is apparently now courting Edgerton to take the role. Edgerton's developed a lot of heat since appearing in 2009's Aussie hit "Animal Kingdom" and 2011's "Warrior." Those films paved the way for roles in "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Great Gatsby." Depp's fondness for Edgerton may not be such a surprise for those paying attention: the Aussie actor may star alongside Depp in "Black Mass," a film about notorious Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. That is, if they can get that project back to life

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4 Comments

  • Idgy | September 6, 2013 5:13 PMReply

    Amitabh was suggested for a different role in Shantaram, not the Lindsay character, so maybe he's still under consideration to star alongside Joel.

    Interesting tidbit at the end about Black Mass possibly being revived (good thing they waited since the story's still evolving; Depp said in June that it was important to wait until everything was ready to film & also that he really wanted to work with director Barry Levinson). Or could be that Depp knows Black Mass is dead & he's helping Edgerton get another good role.

  • CB | September 6, 2013 7:54 AMReply

    Joel Edgerton is the real deal. Happy for his success. He deserves it. Such a unique, versatile talent.

  • Nancy_Casteel | September 6, 2013 12:25 AMReply

    my roomate's half-sister is REALLY into Joel Edgerton.

  • Chris L. | September 5, 2013 8:49 PMReply

    Let's hope this paves the way to get Weir back on board, or at least gauge his interest.

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