Johnny Depp has explained how it was Hunter S Thompson‘s idea to bring The Rum Diary to the screen.
The gonzo journalist’s semi-autobiographical account of his time as a young reporter in Puerto Rico was left unpublished until 1998. Depp, who became friends with Thompson while portraying him in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, only found the manuscript decades later.
In our video interview which you can watch above, Depp explained:
Hunter and I were going through the manuscript for Fear And Loathing at the time, it was about 1997, and I happened upon this cardboard box, in there was the manuscript for The Rum Diary. He hadn’t seen it since ’59-’60 when he wrote it and threw it in a box. We started reading from it and it was awfully good.
The actor then explained how Thompson was enthusiastic about the adaptation: “It was Hunter’s idea all the way back that then to turn this into a film, and we had designs and plans and went out [to Puerto Rico] and had a song and dance and tried to find money to get this thing made. We wanted [Withnail And I director] Bruce Robinson to do it. Bruce is notoriously out of the business, so one thing led to another and eventually 14 years later we got it done.”
Thompson committed suicide in 2005, but Depp has been fighting to get the film made ever since. Now complete, he said that the film is “Bruce Robinson in the vernacular of Hunter S Thompson,” adding: “You get the perfect marriage. There’s a great deal of humour, a lot of madness but at the same time there’s a political gravity I think that brings the narrative meaning.”
The Rum Diary is released in the UK tomorrow (November 11).