AppleTV+ Launch Date

Apple TV+ joins the streaming wars this fall on November 1. While the new subscription streaming service is trying to get a headstart on Disney+, which launches on November 12, they don’t have an expansive library of content to make it all that appealing of an endeavor just yet. Perhaps that’s why this week brings news of three new shows that Apple TV+ is developing with filmmakers Robert Rodriguez (Alita: Battle Angel), Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Justin Kurzel (Assassin’s Creed). Find out about the three new shows below.

Shantaram Book

First up, Deadline reports Assassin’s Creed director Justin Kurzel is working on an adaptation of Shantaram, based on Gregory David Roberts’ best-selling novel of the same name. Apple picked up the project over a year ago and had been developing the project with the intention of going straight to series. Shantaram has just been given the greenlight with Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam slated to lead the series.

Paramount Television and Anonymous Content are behind the series, which follows the story of Lin (Hunnam), a man on the run from an Australian prison looking to get lost in the teeming city of Bombay. Cut off from family and friends by distance and fate, he finds a new life in the slums, bars and underworld of India. The deal for the Shantaram series also included the sequel novel The Mountain Shadow, so the series might go beyond the events of the first book.

Eric Warren Singer, the writer behind American Hustle, will be scripting the series, and Justin Kurzel will direct the first two episodes of the 10-episode series. Kurzel and Singer will also be executive producing along with Dave Erickson (Fear the Walking Dead), Steve Golin at Anonymous Content, and Nicole Clemens (now President of Paramount Television), Andrea Barron and Richard Sharkey.

Shantaram has been published in 39 languages in 42 territories worldwide with 6 million copies sold, so there’s a good size audience for an adaptation of it. But is it the kind of show that will entice people to sign up for Apple TV+?

Production is expected to start in Australia and India in October, but no release date has been determined yet.

The Mosquito Coast

Next, Deadline has word that Apple has also ordered an adaptation of another acclaimed novel. The Mosquito Coast, published in 1981, was written by Paul Theroux, and it follows an idealist who uproots his family to Latin America. The story was previously turned into a movie starring Harrison Ford in 1986, but now Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), who just so happens to be the author’s nephew, will be starring in the series.

Rupert Wyatt, director of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, will be directing several episodes (including the premiere) of the series and serving as executive producer along with Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen and Bob Bookman of Veritas Entertainment Group and Ed McDonnell.

Luther creator Neil Cross will serve as writer and showrunner for the series set up at Fremantle, which previously worked with Veritas on the BBC and Starz collaboration Dublin Murders by way of their Euston Films banner.

While The Mosquito Coast made for a decent movie back in 1986, I’m not sure if it’s the kind of story you want to see drawn out into an entire series, and it’s hardly something that will entice people to sign up for Apple TV+.

El Gato Negro

Finally, The Hollywood Reporter has news on a new series from Alita: Battle Angel director Robert Rodriguez heading to Apple TV+. The project is called El Gato Negro, which translates to The Black Cat in English, and it’s an adaptation of a Mexican comic book by Richard Dominguez.

El Gato Negro follows the intergenerational exploits of two crime-fighting heroes in South Texas. The first is a young man who takes up the mantle of a fabled local hero to avenge the death of his best friend, while the other is his grandfather, a lucha (Mexican wrestler) who turned to crime-fighting decades earlier.

Rock of Ages star Diego Boneta (who will be seen later this year in Terminator: Dark Fate) has been trying to get the project off the ground for awhile but was having little luck finding a writer to bring it to life. But Supergirl writer Eric Carrasco pitched him an enticing take on the property at Comic-Con. That was apparently enough to get Robert Rodriguez on board as director and executive producer, and Boneta will be starring in the series in addition to executive producing.

This seems like it at least has an appeal that will bring in some Latinx viewers for Apple TV+, but it hardly feels like a staple series that will entice a wide audience. But Rodriguez does have a penchant for crafting entertaining projects

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