5:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Shantaram' TV Series in the Works With Anonymous Content, Paramount TV
Following a monthlong, multiple outlet bidding war, Amy Powell-led Paramount Television and frequent collaborator Anonymous Content have landed the rights to Shantaram, the best-selling novel from author Gregory David Roberts.
The mob drama was previously set up as a feature film, with Johnny Depp set to produce and Joel Edgerton attached to star. Paramount Television and Anonymous Content will now adapt the property for the small screen. The two companies also acquired rights to Roberts' follow-up novel, The Mountain Shadow. A network is not yet attached.
The Shantaram take will be executive produced by Anonymous Content's Nicole Clemens and Steve Golin; Andrea Barron will also exec produce.
The novel has been published in 39 languages in 42 territories worldwide and has sold more than 6 million copies. It centers on an Australian heroin addict convicted of robbery who escapes from a maximum-security prison who flees to India and reinvents himself as a doctor in the slums of Bombay. He then gets involved in counterfeiting, smuggling and gunrunning, which leads him to Afghanistan, where he and a mob boss battle Russians.
"As a huge admirer of the material, I’ve been tracking this book for more than a decade,” Golin said Wednesday in a statement.
Added Roberts: "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.”
Joe Regal of Regal Hoffmann & Associates repped the book, while attorney Drew Patrick negotiated on Barron's behalf.
For Paramount Television, Shantaram joins a roster that includes TNT's forthcoming The Alienist, George Clooney's Catch-22 and Netflix's 13 Reasons Why, among others.