THE RUM DIARY Resurrected–Johnny Depp to produce and star in film of Hunter S. Thompson's novel

In an article cleverly titled “Depp Gonzo over ‘Rum,'” Variety reports that the long-dormant plan to film Hunter S. Thompson’s novel THE RUM DIARY has come back to life due to Johnny Depp’s interest in the project. Johnny will be executive producer of the film, and he has hired Bruce Robinson to adapt Hunter’s novel into a screenplay and direct the movie. Depp fans will remember that Robinson’s comedy classic WITHNAIL & I is one of Johnny’s favorite films. Johnny, whose soul-stealing performance as Hunter S. Thompson’s alter ego Raoul Duke in FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS is one of the highlights of his career, will play a character based on Hunter.

THE RUM DIARY will be financed by FilmEngine; the producers will be A.J. Dix, Anthony Rhulen, William Shively, Robert S. Kravis and Greg Shapiro. FilmEngine had earlier tried to film Thompson’s novel, which deals with the adventures of a journalist in 1950s Puerto Rico, with a script by Michael Thomas and a cast including Johnny Depp, Benecio del Toro, and Nick Nolte. That attempt fell through due to scheduling conflicts.

Now, with the hiring of Bruce Robinson to write and direct, the producers are essentially starting over. “Johnny had tried to hire Bruce four times and this was the first thing he accepted,” producer Anthony Rhulen told Variety. “Johnny is working hands on with Bruce to develop his character, and we’ll worry about the rest of the cast later. So many talented actors are fans of Hunter that that part should be relatively easy.”

FilmEngine’s current plan is to begin production of the long-delayed RUM DIARY sometime after Johnny Depp finishes the back-to-back sequels to PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. The Zone thanks emma for breaking the story; you can read the Variety article on the News & Views forum.