Aussie director Peter Weir has made some great films, but he’s not exactly what you’d call prolific – there was five-year gap between Truman Show and the excellent Master and Commander. Maybe working with the ever-diligent A-lister Johnny Depp will get him to the camera quicker.

Weir is now planning to helm Shantaram, based on events in the life of the book’s author Gregory Roberts. The epic story seems tailor-made for a man of Weir’s scope: it has Depp as an Australian man who escapes from a hellish prison and journeys to India and beyond, where he ends up doing everything from playing doctor to laundering money and forging passports to engaging in guerrilla warfare against Russians.

Oscar-winning writer Eric Roth (who has provided words for people like Michael Mann, Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg) will work with Weir on the script for the Warner Bros. film. Weir has also been attached to adaptations of The War Magician and William Gibson’s groovy thriller Pattern Recognition, but considering his lethargic work pace we probably shouldn’t expect those before the Rapture.