Loosely based on the author's life, "Shantaram" tells the story of an Australian heroin addict, con man, and convicted bank robber who was sentenced in 1978 to 19 years in prison for his crimes, but escaped in 1980. Roberts was on the run for 10 years and became one of Australia's most wanted criminals.
Warner Bros secured the rights to the story in 2004 and had Depp in mind for the lead. The film has been in the works since 2004, though it was occasionally placed on the back burner.
The project is, once again, marching full steam ahead, though Depp has stepped down from the role to anoint Edgerton, whom he handpicked for the lead.
Depp and his partner Christi Dembrowski have come on board as producers.
This is the second true crime story starring Depp that Edgerton is attached to. As we reported back in May, Edgerton has signed on to star with Depp in "Black Mass,
" a thriller to be directed by Barry Levinson.
"Black Mass" will see Edgerton play FBI agent John Connolly in the true crime story of Boston's violent criminal turned FBI informant, Whitey Bulger.