Mira Nair Picks Up Shantaram

Mira Nair (“The Namesake”, “Vanity Fair”, “Monsoon Wedding”) will direct big-budget Johnny Depp starrer “Shantaram” for Warner Bros. Pictures, Initial Entertainment Group, Plan B and Infinitum Nihil.

Nair’s arrival means the project –which may be Depp’s next starring vehicle after “Sweeney Todd” — is back on track after helmer Peter Weir dropped out last summer reports Variety.

In “Shantaram,” an Australian heroin addict escapes from a maximum-security prison and reinvents himself as a doctor treating the destitute in the slums of Bombay. His drive to procure medicine leads him into counterfeiting, gun-running and smuggling.

Nair will direct from a script by Eric Roth, who is adapting Gregory David Roberts’ tome of the same name. Production is likely to begin as soon as this fall, with a possible 2008 release.