Johnny Depp to produce "Shantaram" - movie based on novel by Gregory David Roberts

The Warner Bros. project is based on the novel by Gregory David Roberts. It will be adapted by Oscar-winning writer Eric Roth ("Forrest Gump"). Johnny Depp will produce and be the star of "Shantaram", an India-based flick, United Press International reports.

Roberts wrote the first draft of the screenplay based on his own exploits, but now the Forrest Gump writer is taking over on the movie which is being designed as a vehicle for Johnny Depp, Digital Spy reports.

Set in the 1980s and loosely based on Roberts' life, the story centers on an Australian heroin addict convicted of robbery who escapes to India, where he reinvents himself as a doctor. When he gets involved in smuggling and gunrunning, his adventurous life leads him to Afghanistan and battles with Russians.

The book was acquired in October 2004 in a $2 million deal by Warners and producer Initial Entertainment Group. Depp, who will also serve as a producer, returns to theaters in December with "The Libertine," which also stars John Malkovich and Samantha Morton, Reuters reports. A.M.

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