Eight years after Sons of Anarchy brought the story of Jax Teller to a skidmark-strewn conclusion, its lead actor Charlie Hunnam is finally making his return to the small screen following years of building up his feature filmography. His new drama, Apple TV+’s Shantaram, takes place in Bombay and doesn’t sound anything like FX’s biker drama, yet spawned some favorable comparisons after the first look was released of Hunnam astride a motorcycle. But as it turns out, that pic isn’t exactly indicative of what we can expect to see from the actor’s upcoming performances.
Based on the 2003 novel by author Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram will star Hunnam as a fugitive in the 1980s who managed to successfully break out of prison, albeit in a location he’s completely unfamiliar with. But while the criminalistic aspect certainly tracks with Jax’s law-eluding lifestyle, the similarities start to run out after that. Speaking with EW, the S.O.A. vet addressed the since-gone-viral motorcycle pic by saying:
I thought that was very cheeky that Apple released that image as the first image. I'm on a motorcycle in the show for approximately two minutes maximum over the course of 12 hours, so I hope people don't get too excited thinking that this is some sort of Sons of Anarchy in India, because that's not what we're delivering. The show is so radically different and the characters are so radically different.
I guess this means we’re not going to see his character Lin Ford rocking any leather jackets. Which would possibly be an uncomfortable look in Bombay anyway.
While on the run and separating himself from his past, Lin meets a mysterious woman and is quickly wooed, making his strides for freedom all the more complex and dangerous. He eventually reaches the point where he has to choose between his emotional desires and his aim to continue life as a free man. I guess that’s not so far removed from Jax’s life in regards to his various dilemmas, though I can’t imagine Shantaram will be anywhere close to being as traumatically deadly as Sons was.
Charlie Hunnam obviously didn’t deal with Jax’s traumas himself, but it still took a lot out of the actor to play that dark role for so many years, and he talked about having to take time to shed the Sons of Anarchy character’s shadow after the show wrapped. On a somewhat similar plane, the actor took a long hiatus from television acting, and he talked about why he went that route, saying:
I very much enjoy the process of long-form storytelling and the consistency of working with the same cast and the opportunity to play the same character for a long period of time, but when I finished Sons of Anarchy, I needed a break from the rigor of that routine, because it's pretty arduous shooting television.
TV production schedules can be a challenge even for shows that are completely free from arduous stunt work, emotionally charged scenes, and the like. So it's understandable that Hunnam was keen to take on more temporary character headspaces after spending the better part of a decade wearing Jax's skin. But check the actor out in his newest TV role in the trailer below!
Even if Shantaram doesn’t have any hardcore connections to the world of motorcycle clubs and brotherhood, Sons of Anarchy fans can certainly find that vibe in FX’s Mayans M.C., which has carried on its predecessors’ themes and tones quite grippingly. Yes, even when it comes to the traumatic deaths.
For those with Apple TV+ subscriptions, Shantaram will make its debut on Friday, October 14, with three episodes dropping at once, which will be followed by weekly eps until its December 16 finale. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows will be popping up soon.