Alex Gibney's documentary GONZO, with Johnny Depp narrating, opens in selected cities today

Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney’s documentary GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON opens in selected U.S. cities today. The Good Doctor’s good friend, Johnny Depp, narrates the film and reads passages from Hunter’s writing. Gibney sought JD to handle the narration because of his close connection to Hunter: “Johnny had gone and lived with him in his house, and shadowed him when he was preparing to play Hunter in the FEAR AND LOATHING film,” Gibney told a reporter. “He really was, and still is, psychically connected to him.” The director lured Johnny into the project by showing him a rough cut of the film: “He heard it with my voice [doing the narration]. So he probably took pity on us,” Gibney said, with wry humor. “You know: ‘You can’t have that.'”

Gibney’s film focuses on Hunter’s work–his innovative style of journalism and his acute political observations. “He (Thompson) found invasive ways to get at the truth, in ways that were more unpredictable,” Gibney told an interviewer from Reuters. While the director would not classify himself as “an obsessive Thompson fan,” he had admired Hunter since first reading FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS in the 1970s. “What I didn’t see then was these larger grander themes about the character of America and the death of the American dream and all of that,” Gibney said.

Now GONZO brings those themes into perspective. “Thompson [. . .] was not just an original, he was also a patriot and a romantic,” writes movie critic David Carr in the New York Times. “Thompson [. . . ] changed the way that much of America thought about itself . . . .”

The Zone thanks Sleepy and Emma for articles about the Gibney film. You can read more about it on the News & Views forum and the Porch. –Part-Time Poet