Is Hunter S. Thompson's The Rum Diary Next for Johnny Depp?

January 13, 2009

Johnny Depp

According to a casting sheet sent over to, Johnny Depp's next acting project will be that of The Rum Diary after he finishes playing The Mad Hatter in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. The project is based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel where Depp will play Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist who finds himself at a critical turning point in his life while writing for a run-down newspaper in the Caribbean, known as The Rum Diary. The project has been in development for a while, with Bruce Robinson (of The Killing Fields and Jennifer Eight ) set to write and direct with a tentative start date of March.

According to the casting sheet sent over, which details their search for a leading lady to play romantic interest Chenault, this is the plot synopsis: "1960: Divorced alcoholic and struggling novelist Paul Kemp decides to kick around San Juan until his ship comes in, working as a journalist for a daily newspaper that’s on its last legs, drinking gallons of rum and experimenting with LSD. With his new friend Bob Sala by his side, he becomes entangled in a corrupt hotel development scheme with a slick PR consultant named Sanderson, and falls in love with Sanderson’s unattainable girlfriend, Chenault…" Sound interesting?

For those looking to find out more information on this Hunter S. Thompson tale, you can either head over to Wikipedia or pick up the book that this is based on at Amazon. The character of Paul Kemp is one of the many alter egos of Hunter S. Thompson. Previously, Depp took on the role as Raoul Duke in another Hunter S. Thompson movie in 1998 - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Apparently the casting agent in charge is partial to Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johannson for the role of Chenault. Although I don't know much about this story, I'm loving the concept and idea and would definitely love to see Depp take this on.

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Reader Feedback - 41 Comments


So was this written before 'Fear and Loathing' and more importantly, will JD be shaving his head again? I do love 'Fear and Loathing' so thisl be a good film to watch.

Marcus on Jan 13, 2009


Sounds very interesting. Hopefully it has the same erratic feel of Fear and Loathing.

Alfredo on Jan 13, 2009


This information was announced at least a year ago. That's when I knew about it anyway.

Casey on Jan 13, 2009


*hands Casey a cookie* Thanks for passing along the info for those of us who aren't "in the know," Alex.

Jedi on Jan 13, 2009


Fear and Loathing of the Caribbean.

The Real Alex on Jan 13, 2009


The Rum Diary was Thompson first book I believe. It's pretty good. It's no Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but Depp will make it good.

LeftHanded on Jan 13, 2009


its got Rum and the Caribbean, heh.

Richard on Jan 13, 2009


Any Hunter S Thompson based film gets e excited. Especially when Depp is involved

Dan W on Jan 13, 2009


I do remember Benicio Del Toro was asked by Hunter to direct this before he died (strange choice, but apparently he felt he could do it justice)... However, nothing had been signed, and after his unfortunate death there were legal disputes... Would have been interesting to see Benicio direct something, especially this wonderful book. At least Depp is still attached!

Bogart on Jan 13, 2009


Chenault is not Sanderson's girlfriend--she's Yeoman's. This book has quite a different tone than Fear and Loathing, so hopefully the film will be different too. I can't imagine why Depp would want to revisit Raoul Duke. Duke is Thompson after he became Hunter S. Thompson. Paul Kemp is his chance to honor the real man aside from his mystique. And, I hope they find an actress who is not one of those obvious choices.

donnamatrix on Jan 13, 2009


a few years ago there were rumor casting that Kevin Spacey was going to be in this as well. He would be good as Chenault's husband. I would love to see Benicio Del Toro in this as well.

John Moon on Jan 13, 2009


I was getting a little worry some as to wether this film would ever get made. I knew Depp was the owner of the rights to the book. Dare I say he gets back into more "adult" films and take a break from "kid" films. Not that Pirates wasn't great, it's just that we all know what Depp is capable of.

wm on Jan 13, 2009


but....why is the rum gone? he just cant get away from rum can he? hahaha

smile on Jan 13, 2009


God, this is going to be brilliant. Especially if that Spacey talk is true. Reading the headline alone, I kinda had my fingers crossed that if it were going to go into production, that Gilliam would be involved again - never before had anyone done a book so much justice. Fear and Loathing was so brilliant and perfect, exactly like the book. But yeah, either way, it should be good. JD was pretty much born to play HST and all his zany alter-egos. Too bad about the obvious rum references that are gonna haunt that poor man for the rest of his career. But for the love of god, no Keira Knightley. She ruins everything with her perpetual sunken-cheeked pout and annoying voice. I love Scarlett Johansson, but would she relly be right for this?

Rosy on Jan 14, 2009


Any thing from Johnny Depp is acceptable

Fisherr on Jan 14, 2009


Knightly AND Johannson are wrong for Chenault. The thing is Scarlett may look like her, but she has none of the fire and insane danger that Chenault possesses. Same for Knightly. Chenault barely wears clothes, much less a corset, and Knightly feels perpetually bound up! This is not a repressed girl....she is a Sienna Miller type. In fact, I would rather see Sienna Miller paly her then mediocre Scarlett and cold fish Keira. Also, Evan Rachel Wood would be great, or maybe Abbie Cornish.

Michelle on Jan 14, 2009


The real question is.... Do we really want or care for another Depp movie? Let's have his co star be Helen Bonham-carter and have Tim Burton direct with Danny Elfman scoring the tracks. Yes. Let's do it all over... YAWN.................

smacky on Jan 14, 2009


I really enjoyed this book and I've been tyring to keep tabs on it ever since I heard about it in 2003. A correction that the newpaper isn't called "the rum diary" its simply "the daily news". While I think that Depp would be fantastic at this role, I'm just concerned that he might be a little too old. Though he doesnt look like his in his mid 40's, he definatly doesn't look like he's in his early twenties. Hopefully with the magic of the movies, that can be altered a bit. A while ago while I was surfing IMDB.COM for this movie and some of the cast members who were previously linked were Benico Del Toro, Nick Nolte, Josh Hartnett, and as Chenault - Scarlette Johanson. I've heard none of this actors are currently attatched to this film now, but I think that sounds like a pretty good starter for a cast.

Jackie on Jan 14, 2009


I love this book and it would be great to see it done justice on the big screen. But, for the love of God, no Johansson or Knightly - that would be so WRONG!!! Totally agree with Michelle, Sienna Miller could pull off the Chenault character, but she may need to put on a few pounds...

Anne on Jan 15, 2009


so...does anyone know if Benicio will be involved in the Rum diaries at all? e-mail me back at! I'd love to see Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Torro team up again in another crazy movie. Although, I couldn't imagine who he would play.

stranger. on Jan 19, 2009


please must be keira ! they have a great chemistry and they so cute together! i would love to see them in this movie!

flor on Jan 21, 2009


i think too that keira and johnny are hot together ...comon just look the pirates 2 kiss ...that was an amzing kiss! they're really hot together! i love them

Mary on Jan 21, 2009


depp will most def be good for this movie. but for everyone who's seen fear and loathing needs to be aware that yes thompson does "expiriment" in the rum diary but it will be far from fear and loathing. there wont be continuous acid trips scenes and freak out monster metaphors, its slightly sober thompson in a love driven crazy drunken story about him when hes a young and up incoming writer.

dustin on Feb 17, 2009


Are they really going to cut Yeoman from the script?!?! He is the funniest character in the whole book! How can they rewrite HST's plot and character list????? I was extremely excited about the movie... but I don't know now... unbelievable

gman on Mar 2, 2009


"and falls in love with Sanderson’s unattainable girlfriend, Chenault…" Sanderson and Chenault don't even MEET in the novel.

a on Mar 6, 2009


Thompson's first and really only NOVEL. written when he was just emerging as a writer but shelved for 40 years. too bad that josh harnett couldn't play the role of kemp. harnett is whom hunter really wanted to play this role, before his death on '05. i also worry that depp may be too "old" to play kemp, though i guess we will see...

jenn on May 24, 2009


I'm pretty sure Chenault is the girlfriend of Yeamon, not Sanderson

Shaun on Oct 26, 2009


Chenault is the girlfriend of Yeamon. Yeamon was one of the best characters in the novel so i dont know why he has been cut although i heard that they have merged two of the characters together, maybe Sanderson and Yeamon. Amber Heard is playing the part of Chenault which i think is great as shes tall, slim, blond and sexy. I dont recall any experimentation of LSD happening in the novel so that must have been added for the film. Before he died, Thompson approved of the script for the film so if its good enough for him it fine for me.

ed on Nov 10, 2009


I don't care if it was good enough for Thompson, it sounds like total BS to me. In the book, Yeamon and Sanderson are polar opposites, so how combining them is ridiculous. Why bother filming a great book if you're going to butcher it? I'll pass on the movie now.

Jabalong on Feb 1, 2010


They're destroying a great book. Cutting out the best character Yeoman is a big mistake. Plus, what's this BS with experimenting with LSD? If they try to recreate Fear and Loathing for this then it's total shite. This book is much more than just about an alcohol-induced, drug frenzy HST everyone seems to adore after Fear and Loathing. Bah, surely this film will be bullocks if it's how I expect it to turn out. But then again, I doubt JD would be in it if he'd think it's garbage. Time shall tell. Cheers.

Robby G on Feb 15, 2010


Yeah I agree with Robby G. I don't see how this movie works without Yeamon. Depp may be trying to get more of HST's real life in the movie version. In true gonzo style have the book is real the other half is fiction. In reality I think i read somewhere Cheneault was a govenor's daughter that's Thompson's daughter. Johnny Depp doesn't seem to old to me, even though HST was 22 when he went down there Paul Kemp the character was 30 in the book. Depp can play young and old in my opinion. And i think the movie still works if they make him 35 or so...the underlying theme of the book is about Kemp getting over "the hump". But when HST wrote the book he was just starting out.

Sean on Feb 21, 2010


Yeah I agree with Robby G. I don't see how this movie works without Yeamon. Depp may be trying to get more of HST's real life in the movie version. In true gonzo style have the book is real the other half is fiction. In reality I think i read somewhere Cheneault was a govenor's daughter that Thompson chased after. Johnny Depp doesn't seem to old to me, even though HST was 22 when he went down there Paul Kemp the character was 30 in the book. Depp can play young and old in my opinion. And i think the movie still works if they make him 35 or so...the underlying theme of the book is about Kemp getting over "the hump". But when HST wrote the book he was just starting out.

Sean on Feb 21, 2010


Run like hell from this film, true fans of Thompson, for this corruption of the novel will leave you confused and disappointed. Without Yeamon's unaltered character this is not the Rum Diary. Just tell me how Sanderson is going to replace him shooting the native's chickens with spearguns and get Kemp's skull cracked by angry bartenders?

mograine on Feb 22, 2010


Absolutely gutted that they have cut Yeamon. WHY do they need to alter the novel in order to make it into a film? So that they can say it is in adaptation if it turns out to be awful? Mograine, Sean and Robby G are damn right. It is not going to work! Was really looking forward to the film and now i'm not so sure. Frustrating to say the least

james on Jul 1, 2010


Oh my god - I actually don't think I can watch it if they change the story that much! YEAMON is sucha great character and brings so much tension and danger to the story - why cut him out! Crazyness!

Jen on Aug 10, 2010


OMG just read about the LSD as well - ludicrous!!! They will make it appear to just be about Sex and Drugs. Damn that gorgeous talented Johnny Depp. Although hopefully even more people will read it after watching the movie.

Jen on Aug 10, 2010


What's wrong with just making a book into a movie? Why butcher the god damn story, when it's brilliant as it is.. I don't want to believe that Dr. Thompson approved of this BS

Jacob Marley on Oct 27, 2010


Yeoman made that novel. His character was great. What a shame.

Fritz Yeoman on Nov 15, 2010


Although i totally agree Yeamon should be in the film, i also kinda get why he isn't... In a letter hunter wrote (i think its in the gonzo scrap book?!) he hints at... and basically spells out that Paul Kemp is Yeamon, and vice versa, they are both the very different personalities of hunter. I get why he is missed out because if they are trying to stick true to this notion, the only way to really have it work and stick by this fact would be for Depp to play both men. That said i do think how ever Yeamon should be in and just have someone similar to hunter/depp and play the film out more like the book, Blending Yeamon and Kemp sounds a huge mistake.... something i personally feel Del Toro wouldn't of done!! (how i wish he was doing this film!!) Also as far as the LSD rumour goes, i pray its a rumour!!!! if not im going to be pretty let down that they have butchered such an amazing book just for box office numbers!!

SoopaBoosh on Dec 10, 2010


Cutting Yeamon out of the film is possibly one of the WORST moves they could have made!! The guy not only made the book himself, but inspired many extremely important thoughts from Kemp, not to mention many extremely important scenes throughout the novel. I haven't read the letter Thompson wrote referring to Kemp and Yeamon being different personalities of himself, but I think its clear in the book that Yeamon, especially when first introduced, is the man Kemp wishes he had been in what he views as a wasted decade. That said, there is absolutely no way Kemp and Yeamon could be amalgamated into the one character. I understand that maybe they were faced with a few too many characters to introduce and develop in the short time given in a film, and for anyone who has read the book, they would understand that no character is stereotypical. Each character would need adequate time to be portayed correctly, but cutting Yeamon is in no way the answer. If anything, Sandersons character could have been highly diminished, just kept as a connection to Zimburger, while keeping Yeamon as a lead. If what has been said about LSD is true, then yes, it seems as though they are trying to rehash Fear and Loathing, which I am not surprised about at all. Given that they could even consider, let alone go ahead with cutting out Yeamon, shows they have no respect for the novel at all.

Danzig on Jan 4, 2011


this is insane im reading the book for a second time before the movie comes out and i just dont see how they can cut yeamon out... when hes first introduced its one of the best scenes of the book, one of many.. this movie is gonna be weird without gonna watch it but COME ON! ooo and the LSD? what the fuck..back to yeamon how are they gonna have some of the awesome drunken fights are they going to cut them?? and..... bahhhh im done complaining the movies are never like the books

GONZO420 on Oct 9, 2011

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