The suspense over who will direct the film version of Gregory David Roberts’ novel Shantaram has ended. New York-based Indian filmmaker Mira Nair has been signed to helm the big-budget Johnny Depp starrer for Warner Brothers. The other producers are Initial Entertainment Group, Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and Brad Pitt’s Plan B.
After Australian director Peter Weir opted out of the project last year, there has been speculation as to who would be selected for the high-profile film that will be shot in Mumbai, Australia and North America. While sources confirm that pre-production is on, shooting in Mumbai is likely to commence in November, with a possible 2008 release.
Eric Roth is adapting Roberts’ novel, based partly on the author’s own story of his days as a heroin addict who is imprisoned, escapes from jail and ends up in the Mumbai slums. Initial Entertainment head Graham King said: “We are really enthusiastic about having Mira on board. With her lush visual style, she lends an authentic and vital eye to the story. We are also thrilled to pair Mira with the uniquely talented Depp.”
Nair, who is presently in India to shoot a film on AIDS, will soon release The Namesake, based on Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel of the same name. She has previously directed Monsoon Wedding, Salaam Bombay and Vanity Fair.
On a recent visit to Mumbai, Nair told HT: “I am very excited about working on this great story and collaborating with Depp.”