Joel Edgerton to Replace Johnny Depp in ‘Shantaram’

Joel Edgerton

It’s been a good week for projects stuck in development hell. Yesterday, James Gray’s The Lost City of Z got a new lease on life as Benedict Cumberbatch entered talks┬áto star. Today, the even longer-gestating Shantaram looks like it could spring back to life, with Joel Edgerton in the lead role.

Based on the novel by Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram centers on an escaped Australian convict named Lin who moves to Bombay and reinvents himself as a doctor. He eventually gets involved with the local mafia, and uses the dark skills he develops with them in the guerilla war against invading Russians in Afghanistan. Even more remarkable than the plotline itself is the fact that it’s based on Roberts’ own life. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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Gore Verbinski to Direct Big Budget Animated Film

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Director Gore Verbinksi will follow up his billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy with an animated film with a budget estimated at $100 million to be written by John Logan (The Aviator, Sweeney Todd). The film is skedded for a 2010 release, and the title and plot details are unknown at this time. Verbinksi’s last PG film, as I’m assuming this flick will be rated G or PG, was 1997′s rather impressive Mouse Hunt.

The film is being produced by Graham King (Blood Diamond, The Departed, Next), and he gave some interesting details to Variety about a few of his other unrelated films. He’s currently adapting the graphic novel The Invention of Hugo Cabaret, “about a 12-year-old orphan living in a Paris train station in 1930 and embroiled in a mystery involving his father and a robot.” Martin Scorsese has been attached to direct it for a year now, and it seems that is still the case. King also said that the Johnny Depp-vehicle Shantaram is not dead, and he’s also still developing the Puerto Rico-set Hunter S. Thompson novel The Rum Diary, which Depp is also still attached to.

Discuss: Are you excited by this news? What did you want to see Verbinski do next?

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