Anonymous Content and Paramount TV have won a monthlong bidding war for the rights to Shantaram, the bestselling novel from Gregory David Roberts. The plan is to turn the sprawling 2004 novel set in Australia and India about love, forgiveness, courage and redemption into a TV series. A deal was also made for rights to Robert’s sequel novel The Mountain Shadow.
The pact marks the latest tie-up between Anonymous and Par TV, whose first-look arrangement has spawned series including Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why and the upcoming Maniac, Epix’s Berlin Station, and TNT’s The Alienist. They also recently teamed on a six-part limited series Catch-22 starring and to be directed by George Clooney based on Joseph Heller’s novel.
The Shantaram series will be executive produced by Anonymous Content’s Nicole Clemens and Steve Golin. Andrea Barron is also attached to executive produce.
As fan of the book, Golin had been tracking this it for more than a decade.
“We are excited to have been entrusted with bringing this epic novel to television together and to have the opportunity to explore Gregory David Roberts’ rich story that is so beloved by audiences worldwide,” Golin and Par TV president Amy Powell said in a joint statement.
The book, published in 39 languages and with 6 million copies sold, centers on Lin, a writer-turned-bank robber who escapes from a maximum-security prison, becoming Australia’s Most Wanted Man, and makes it to the island city of Bombay, hoping to vanish in the multitudes. Cut off from family and friends by distance and fate, he finds a new life in India among the people he lives with and takes care of as a “doctor” in a sprawling slum, the colorful rogues and exiles who frequent Café Leopold, and eventually the Bombay mob, where he finds work as a smuggler and passport forger. Closest of all are Karla, the woman he loves, but who remains aloof and mysterious, and Prabaker, his guide, with a big smile and even bigger heart, who christens Lin Shantaram, or “man of God’s peace.”
“I’m honored and humbled in equal measure as a writer, and thrilled for the many readers who have hoped that Shantaram would become a vivid screen experience,” said Roberts. “Television is the perfect medium for the novel, and Steve Golin and Nicole Clemens at Anonymous Content are the perfect partners.”
The book is repped by Joe Regal of Regal Hoffmann & Associates. Attorney Drew Patrick negotiated for Barron.