Shantaram Shelved; Amber Heard & Aaron Echkart talk about The Rum Diary

Shantaram Shelved

The film adaptation of the bestselling book, 'Shantaram', which was due to feature the dual talents of Hollywood's Johnny Depp and the Bollywood legend, Amitabh Bachchan, has been shelved, Bachchan told me in a flying visit to London this week. The New York-based film director, Mira Nair, who has won plaudits at the Cannes Film Festival for such acclaimed films as 'Salaam Bombay!' and 'Monsoon Wedding', had enlisted both actors for the film adaptation, announced two years ago. But Bachchan said she had phoned him to tell him the whole project had been "shelved". He said: "She didn't say why but she just told me that it was shelved." 'Shantaram' was to be based on the book by Gregory David Roberts, which tells the story of an escaped Australian convict who travels through continents and ends up in Mumbai's underworld. Nair had cast Depp in the lead role in the film with Bachchan agreeing to play the Mumbai-based gangster called Kader Bhai who becomes Depp's mentor and father figure.

Amber Heard talks about working on The Rum Diary
Next question for you, of course I have to ask you about “The Rum Diary”.

Amber: Yes.
How much fun did you have making that thing and what can people expect in it?

Amber: It was an amazing experience. I’m a huge fan of Hunter S. Thompson and I met with Johnny Depp about it and he was instrumental in casting me as Chenault, who plays Johnny’s character’s love interest. So I was playing his love interest along with Aaron Eckhart and there a slew of other brilliant filmmakers and actors in this movie and involved in this movie. It’s directed and written by Bruce Robinson and like I said before it’s a Hunter S. Thompson story and I am just honored to be working on something he was involved in in any way.

Was that a project that you fought for or was it a project that came to you?

Amber: I fought really hard for that role. It was a long process-a grueling one. I wrote letters to the people involved. I committed myself to being this character and ultimately I had the opportunity to work on it, so I’m extremely happy for my hard work. It paid off.

Aaron Eckhart talks about working on The Rum Diary
Q: You’ve just made the Hunter S. Thompson novel, The Rum Diary, with Withnail and I director Bruce Robinson. Was it a glorious experience?

A: Yeah, it really was. He himself is as interesting as his movies. By far. He’s a cross between Richard E. Grant and Mick Jagger! Bruce has this worldly rock’n’roll quality. And he’s totally invested in his movies. He’s a great writer. He’s a really beautiful writer, actually. And I think he did a great job on The Rum Diary. And I think he and Johnny are really on the same page. I could see that Johnny really admires Bruce. I’m hoping for great things with the movie.

Q: Who do you play in the movie?

A: I play Sanderson, the wealthy up-and-coming industrialist who is trying to make Puerto Rico into a parking lot and a hotel! I recruit Johnny’s character to help me do that, to write the prose, to sell the concept to the public. And Johnny’s character doesn’t know if that’s really a great thing.

Q: Was it a suitably wild shoot?

A: Yes, in ways that I will let Johnny elaborate on, as I don’t talk out of school. But there’s some interesting goings-on. And things that I wasn’t privy to probably too that put Johnny into character. I can’t wait for Bruce to talk about the movie, because I think a lot went into writing this movie for Bruce. Both in his personal life and his professional life – he really made sacrifices for this movie.