Actor Johnny Depp, who is currently embroiled in a bitter lawsuit with his ex-wife Amber Heard, was once supposed to come to India to shoot the film adaptation of Shantaram. But his would-be co-star Irrfan Khan revealed in an interview that Depp was scared off the idea after hearing about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s experiences in the country.
The Shantaram adaptation was supposed to be directed by Mira Nair, who insisted that it must be shot in Mumbai, even after Depp suggested that they relocate to Mexico. According to a 2009 Hindustan Times report, Irrfan said, “From what I understand, Johnny Depp wasn’t keen to come to India. Brad Pitt and he are good friends and what happened with Brad and Angelina (Jolie) in Mumbai during The Mighty Heart shoot apparently scared him off.”
Irrfan seemed to blame beaurocracy for the situation. “We don’t know how to take care of business coming our way,” he said, adding, ““It’s sad, and what’s sadder is that we don’t really care.” The actor had appeared in several high-profile Hollywood films, such as The Amazing Spider-Man, Life of Pi and Jurassic World. He died in 2020 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Depp eventually bowed out of the project, which was briefly resurrected with Joel Edgerton in the lead role, before that iteration also fizzled out. Nair’s Shantaram would have also featured Arshad Warsi, Shreyas Talpade and Ranvir Shorey in supporting roles. The novel is finally getting a cinematic adaptation, with an upcoming Apple TV+ series starring Charlie Hunnam and Radhika Apte.
Depp is currently appearing in court in his defamation lawsuit against Amber Heard. Heard has accused Depp of physically and sexually assaulting her on multiple occasions before and during their brief marriage. Depp sued after Heard made an indirect reference to those accusations in an op-ed piece she wrote for The Washington Post.
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