Steven Lightfoot Joins Apple's 'Shantaram' as Showrunner (Exclusive)

Steve Lightfoot
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Apple's high-profile Shantaram series is back on track.

After production was paused in February amid a delay in scripts, Steven Lightfoot (The Punisher) has signed on to serve as showrunner. He replaces Eric Warren Singer (American Hustle) at the helm of the international drama series. As part of the pact, Lightfoot has also inked a multiple-year overall deal with Apple.

Shantaram is a big swing for Apple and marks the tech giant's first international play. The 10-episode series is based on the best-selling novel by Gregory David Roberts. Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) will play Lin, a man on the run from an Australian prison who looks 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 novel has been published in 39 languages in 42 territories worldwide and sold more than 6 million copies to date.

The series will be shot across two continents in Australia and India, filming was paused in February — before the pandemic — and was poised to resume following the end of monsoon season. The planned delay was originally to allow creator and then-showrunner Singer to catch up on scripts. At the same time, a search began for a new showrunner with proven TV experience to work alongside Singer, who comes from the feature world.

With Lightfoot now in the driver's seat as writer, exec producer and showrunner, Singer is no longer attached to Shantaram. The Paramount Television Studios and Anonymous Content series also counts Steve Golin, Andrea Barron, Nicole Clemens and Richard Sharkey as exec producers.

Lightfoot most recently had an overall deal with Marvel Television that was terminated in April as one of the first pacts to be force majeured amid the industry-wide production shutdown as studios of all sizes started to tighten their respective belts. (Marvel TV, it's worth noting, no longer exists as the division was folded under the film unit.) Lightfoot most recently served as showrunner on Netflix's Marvel drama The Punisherwhich was canceled a year ago after a two-season run. Lightfoot next serves as showrunner on the British limited series Behind Her Eyes. The drama will debut next year on Netflix. His credits include writing on Narcos and NBC's Hannibal. He started his producing and writing career in the U.K., where his credits include House of Saddam, Criminal Justice and The Crimson Petal and the White. He's repped by Sloane Offer.

A premiere date for Shantaram has yet to be revealed.