"A very fabulous project"–writer-director Bruce Robinson talks to the BBC about THE RUM DIARY

In an interview with the BBC’s Francine Stock, writer-director Bruce Robinson, whose Withnail and I regularly makes lists of all-time-best British comedies, explained how he was lured back to filmmaking after a 17-year hiatus to do The Rum Diary with Johnny Depp. “I had no intention of doing it [directing] again,” Robinson said. “I’m doing it because I think it’s a very fabulous project.” Robinson explained that the film is based on Hunter S. Thompson’s novel, and “Hunter’s close friend Johnny Depp asked me to write it, which I did. And when I finished writing it, he asked me to direct it, which I’m going to do . . . all being well.”

The Rum Diary, with a cast that includes Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Richard Jenkins, and Amber Heard, is scheduled to begin filming the last week of March. “It’s a good script,” Robinson said. “It’s very like Withnail–very sort of non-grinning humor in it.”

And how did he get offered the project? “Johnny and I would occasionally run into each other,” Robinson said, “and then, I suppose because of his liking for Withnail and I, when there was this book that he was instrumental in helping to get published–it had been written when Hunter S. Thompson was 20 years old and never been published for 40 years–and Johnny was part and parcel of the reason it got published. And he thought of me when they wanted to do it as a screenplay.”

Although Robinson is a severe judge of his own work (and spent the early part of the BBC interview relentlessly critiquing his past films), he admitted to being “very pleased” with the script for The Rum Diary. “It’s funny–it’s going to be very funny, I think.” With a quick chuckle, he added, “Although I don’t like saying that, in case it isn’t.”

The Zone thanks Emma for breaking the news of the Bruce Robinson radio appearance, and FANtasticJD and KYWoman for posting accounts of the interview on the News & Views forum. You can listen to the full interview on the BBC website HERE; the segment with Bruce Robinson is the first part of the program and lasts approximately 13 minutes. –Part-Time Poet

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