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Acclaimed Director Bails On Johnny Depp Flick

Marcia Gay HardenDirector Peter Weir has exited "Shantaram," the Warner Brothers adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel starring and produced by Johnny Depp, according to Variety.

Several sources speculated that Weir and Depp were unable to reach agreement about the direction of the film.

However, a spokesman for Warner said that the conflict was not limited to Depp. "Peter moved on from this film because his interpretation of it differed greatly than that of the studio and producers," the spokesman said.

Depp remains entrenched in the project. In addition to his role as the story's lead character Lindsay, Depp's company Infinitum Nihil is producing. It was apparently Depp who convinced the studio to strike the $2 million deal for the book's film rights.

"Shantaram" revolves around an Australian heroin addict (Lindsay) who escapes a maximum-security prison, reinvents himself as a doctor in the slums of India and winds up a gun-runner and counterfeiter who fights against invading Russian troops in Afghanistan.

Weir has other projects in the works, however. He is currently helming "War Magician," based on David Fisher's 1983 book and is slated to direct "Pattern Recognition" from the William Gibson novel. Weir is best known for directing such acclaimed films as "Witness," "Dead Poets Society," "The Truman Show" and "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World."

While Warner has just begun its search for a new director, the studio remains optimistic that production will start by Spring 2007. -- Shannon Nolley

Posted by Shannon on June 12, 2006 10:06 PM
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