SHANTARAM news: author Gregory Roberts to be Johnny Depp's houseguest in the Bahamas!

An Australian newspaper reports that SHANTARAM author Gregory Roberts will travel to the Bahamas in June, and remain there for six weeks as a house guest of Johnny Depp. Johnny will be in the Bahamas reprising his role of Captain Jack Sparrow in PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 2 and 3. When the POTC sequels are concluded, Johnny’s next film role (apparently) will be to play the lead role of Lin in the movie version of Roberts’ mostly-autobiographical novel, SHANTARAM. Roberts will use his time as the Depp family’s guest to “put the finishing touches on the first draft of the screenplay” for SHANTARAM.

Roberts told reporters that cutting the book’s 900+ pages down to a two-hour screenplay has been a challenge, and that he has been more ruthless about editing his story than Johnny is willing to be. “When you’re writing a book it’s a question of what you put in,” Roberts says. “When you’re writing a screenplay it’s a question of what you leave out. I was more savage with that than Johnny was. He was saying, ‘No, no, no, you can’t leave that out, I love that part’, so we had quite spirited discussions about it.”

Roberts’ travel plans help confirm what the Observer reported in their story on Initial Entertainment’s Graham King last Sunday: that King is very close to greenlighting SHANTARAM. Roberts told reporters that interiors for SHANTARAM will be shot in Los Angeles, while the scenes in Afghanistan probably will be shot in Morocco. He and Johnny are both lobbying to have the Indian scenes shot on location in India. Roberts also confirms that Johnny intends to use an appropriate Australian accent to play Lin, although Roberts claims he doesn’t care about that level of fidelity to his character: “I’ve told him that’s not important to me. It doesn’t matter if the character is Australian or Chinese. I wrote what I believe to be a universal character.” The Zone thanks emma for tracking down Mr. Roberts’ travel plans; you can read the whole story on the News & Views forum. We will try not to be too envious of Roberts’ perfect sabbatical–“six weeks at Chateau Depp!”