Why Charlie Hunnam Was Actually ‘Grateful’ When ‘Shantaram’ Was Put on ‘Hold’

Charlie Hunnam will soon be back on TV in the new AppleTV+ series Shantaram. Eight years after the end of Sons of Anarchy, Hunnam’s latest project is based on an international best-selling novel from Australian author Gregory David Roberts. The show has actually been in the works for years and experienced numerous delays. But according to Hunnam, he was actually “grateful” that Shantaram was put on “hold.”

‘Shantaram’ star Charlie Hunnam attends the "The True History Of The Kelly Gang" World Premiere Party Hosted By Grolsch at Weslodge, during the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2019 in Toronto, Canada
Charlie Hunnam | Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images for ICONINK

What is Charlie Hunnam’s new series ‘Shantaram’ about?

In a plot description of the series, Apple says that Shantaram follows Hunnam’s Lin Ford — a fugitive who attempts to “get lost in vibrant and chaotic 1980s Bombay” after escaping a maximum-security Australian prison.

“Alone in an unfamiliar city, Lin struggles to avoid the trouble he’s running from in this new place. After falling for an enigmatic and intriguing woman named Karla, Lin must choose between freedom or love and the complications that come with it,” the description reads.

In the novel, Lin arrives in Bombay and reinvents himself as a doctor, gets involved with a local mafia boss, and then gets caught up in gun-running and counterfeiting to fight against Russian troops in Afghanistan. 

While all of this drama is going on, Lin falls in love with an intriguing woman named Karla (Antonia Desplat). And this will force him to “choose between freedom or love.”

The ‘Sons of Anarchy’ star was ‘grateful’ when ‘Shantaram’ was put on ‘hold’

Shantaram was a development nightmare for Apple after Hunnam landed the leading role in September 2019. They had just two episodes completed in February 2020, when production was shut down and the showrunner was replaced. Just days later, the pandemic hit and the production was put on hold indefinitely. 

“Yeah, the scripts were still being developed so we were on a bit of a hiatus to get them to a place where they felt ready,” director Justin Kurzel told The Playlist in April 2020. 

“It’s complicated because you’re shooting in India and monsoons happen in the middle of the year so you’ve really only got two avenues in which to shoot. So it was just about stepping back from it a bit and letting the writers catch up and then this [COVID-19] happened.” 

In late 2020, Collider asked Hunnam about the status of the project, and Hunnam admitted that he was “grateful” for the delay.

Charlie Hunnam’s new series finally has a premiere date

“We went on hold and they had a bit of a creative reshuffle. We replaced the showrunner/creator, so that has created further delays. They’re basically restructuring and giving this new showrunner autonomy to come in and find his vision and redefine what he wants the show to be. So, we’re on a bit of a hold, which has been fine, since I had work that I wanted to do, writing my own stuff. I’ve been grateful for this period of time,” the Sons of Anarchy said at the time.

Filming for Shantaram finally resumed in the spring of 2021, and production was completed earlier this year. In August, Apple announced a premiere date for Season 1 of Shantaram — which will feature 12 episodes. The first three will drop on Oct. 14 on AppleTV+. Then, a new episode will be released weekly until the finale on Dec. 16. 

RELATED: As Charlie Hunnam Returns to TV in ‘Shantaram’ — Where Is the Rest of the Cast of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ Today?