Although it’s exactly what Johnny Depp didn’t want, so many will see The Rum Diary as an homage to the actor’s relationship with Hunter S. Thompson, and not the writer himself. But either way, we’ll all be better for understanding the vision of someone granted access to HST’s mind. This friendship was important creatively because it was real, and this is understood through Depp’s commitment to honouring a body of work that, up to this point, has been sufficiently honoured.
A brief history of their relationship, if interested, but a bit more on Dr. Thompson and the book below:
- Johnny Depp met Hunter S. Thompson on Vacation in Aspen (1995), and a year or so later the writer asked Depp to play him Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
- “I knew then how special every second of that time was. You can make more room in your brain and in your heart to store that stuff, and I did. I never got sick of it…You’d be talking about Michael Jordan and his brilliance or his athletic abilities one second, and the next thing you know you’ve made some turn and you’re talking about moonshine running.” – J.D.
- Along with the Fear and Loathing movie, Depp helped his mentor with ‘Hunter S. Thompson Day’ in Louisville, financed his funeral in 2005, wrote the intro to Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson, narrated Gonzo : The Life and Works of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson and then fought for years putting together The Rum Diary film.
The Rum Diary is, for the most part, autobiographical. Thompson moved down to San Juan, Puerto Rico in his early twenties (1960) to report for a shitty sports paper, and began writing the fiction novel on the side. After consistent rejections and more opportunities in Thompson’s professional life, the book was shelved until, after a few decades of Thompson being the most notorious journalist in the world, was published in ’98. The Rum Diary is Hunter S. Thompson’s second novel (the first, Prince Jellyfish, is still unpublished).