DDW has the first look of Charlie Hunnam tearing through 1980s Mumbai in the hotly-anticipated drama series Shantaram, premiering globally October 14th on Apple TV+
Apple TV+ has released the first look at drama series Shantaram with Newcastle-born Charlie Hunnam playing heroin-addicted bank robber Lin Ford. After a series of acclaimed film roles, Shantaram marks Hunnam’s first return to television since the wrap of FX’s Sons of Anarchy in 2014.
The role of motorcycle-riding fugitive Lin is set to garner Emmy and Golden Globe buzz, with Hunnam’s performance carrying an international ensemble including Radhika Apte, Alexander Siddig, Luke Pasqualino and Richard Roxburgh in a first for Apple TV+.
Based on the semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram tells the story of Lin Ford as he escapes Petridge Prison and tears through 1980s Bombay in the search for asylum and anonymity. Initial high-profile bidding wars and hype followed Robert’s debut in 2003 before the project spent nearly two decades in development hell under Warner Bros. Pictures. Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp and Joel Edgerton were under consideration for the lead, before finally Warner Bros. cut ties and sold the rights to Anonymous Content and Paramount Television Studios. Charlie Hunnam took the lead and Apple TV+ announced the retooling of the adaption as an Apple Original series.
Filming began in 2019 across Australia and India, before halting less than a year later due to a nightmarish series of events including the Indian monsoon season, a mid-filming showrunner change, and the disastrous impact of COVID-19 on South Asia. After a forced last-minute location switch from Bhopal to Thailand, Shantaram finally finished filming with Steve Lightfoot of Hannibal and The Punisher acting as showrunner and scriptwriter.
With this arduous production history, press for the Apple TV+ series has been understandably sparse. Yet the distinct lack of publicity has seemingly worked in Apple’s favour, as a much-needed sense of secrecy and mystique surrounds Shantaram and Charlie Hunnam’s performance. Even now, only a single image has been released featuring Hunnam’s Lin wearing a button-down shirt while alone on a motorcycle surrounded by weather-worn shelters and tin roofs.
Minimalist and restrained, the image avoids flashy clichés associated with Bombay and focuses on the complexity of the protagonist and his surroundings. Charlie Hunnam seems perfectly pitched as Roberts’ “philosopher who lost his integrity in crime”, while settings from Bhopal and Madhya Pradesh provide frenetic and vibrant locations.
Across twelve episodes, Shantaram follows the eight-year tour of Lin Ford through the diverse landscape of Mumbai in the 1980s. The surreality of human existence is set to be explored through a blistering series of friendships and loves, while Ford searches for redemption in a country that changes the trajectory of his life forever.
From Bollywood to the criminal underworld, Shantaram will offer an intensely personal journey full of hope and harrowing decisions. Helmed by an undoubtedly sublime performance from Hunnam, Shanataram’s global debut on October 14th is yet another unmissable addition to Apple TV+.
Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions and is compatible with most devices, media players and televisions. Shantaram will make its global debut with the first three episodes of its 12-episode first season on Friday, October 14, 2022, followed by one new episode weekly every Friday through December 16, 2022, on Apple TV+.