Charlie Hunnam might be having some difficulty with his latest project. That is, a little bit more difficulties than has already happened, which is kind of a lot. The Sons of Anarchy star has been set to play the lead in a new show called Shantaram, but it has been one thing after another for the embattled Apple TV+ show. The show has been in development since 2018, and reportedly finished filming in December of 2021, but Apple TV+ has concerningly not announced any release date for the show. It would be one thing if they simply kept mum about such things, but the streaming branch of Apple actually just announced release dates for a whole slew of new projects, and Shantaram was made conspicuous by its absence. While this may simply mean that there is a lot of post-production still involved in the Charlie Hunnam show and everything is smooth sailing, it is rarely a good sign when an entire dish is not mentioned on the menu.
Shantaram is based on a novel of the same name by Gregory David Roberts, an Australian criminal. In the late 1970s, Roberts robbed a number of banks (largely to support a heroin addiction), becoming particularly known for wearing a three-piece suit and using polite courtesies while committing crimes. After his conviction and imprisonment, he escaped from Pentridge Prison in 1980 and hid in India for ten years. He eventually was recaptured and extradited back to Australia, where he finished the remainder of his term and wrote the novel. Shantaram primarily deals with Roberts’ years in India. Charlie Hunnam is set to portray this period of Roberts’ life (which it should be noted, has been contested as to its veracity).
Charlie Hunnam has been attached to the Apple TV+ show since nearly its earliest development, but the production has experienced a number of delays. Eric Warren Singer (who wrote the screenplays for American Hustle and the upcoming Top Gun: Maverick) was hired to write the show and serve as showrunner. After a yearlong writing process and as filming was preparing to begin, Singer stepped away, citing potential conflicts with other projects. After several months of delays, Steve Lightfoot (a writer and producer on Hannibal and Marvel’s The Punisher) was brought on board, and Justin Kurzel and Bharat Nalluri were set to direct. Shantaram was once again delayed filming in India due to monsoon season and Covid-19 concerns. Later, production was moved entirely to Thailand due to rapidly worsening pandemic conditions in India.
All of this is to say, the Charlie Hunnam show has already met with its share of production difficulties. A lack of announcement for any release date by Apple TV+ is somewhat concerning for the future of the show, particularly as they announced release dates for projects by Will Smith, Ryan Reynolds, and Leonardo DiCaprio. At this point, it would hopefully seem that the biggest hurdles are over for Charlie Hunnam and Shantaram, and since Apple TV+ has already sunk the costs, maybe they will finally just get on with it.