Stephen Gaghan Adapting Hunter S. Thompson's Hell's Angels
Hell's Angels. Those two words are able to conjure a myriad of emotions, no matter if you're eighteen or seventy-eight. Leather. Anarchy. Violence. Honor. Imposition. Counter-culture. Fear. ComingSoon reports from an interview with director Tony Scott that he and Stephen Gaghan are set to bring the notorious biker gang to the big screen. Gaghan, the Academy Award-winning scribe of Traffic, is currently adapting Hunter S. Thompson's nonfiction work Hell's Angels - a first person account of the gang from inside its ranks. In order to conduct his research in the 1960's, Thompson became a member of the gang itself.
He was able to provide a startling, up close and personal account of the gang, his experiences as a member, as well as the people that make up Hell's Angels. The work displays a more sober voice for Thompson, one that evolves throughout its writing from "outsider to sympathetic defender," as Adam Rosenberg puts it.
This isn't the first time Thompson has been adapted, as you most certianly know. Terry Gilliam successfully brought the much more psychotropic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas to the big screen in 1998. Though, the pairing of Gilliam to Thompson, and vice versa, seems a more natural mesh than that of Thompson to Tony Scott, who may not direct, but will at least produce. Gaghan, though, is an apt choice to pen the adaptation. His ability to write seemingly unsympathetic characters in Traffic gives me confidence that Hell's Angels will be both an honest account of the gang itself as well as a faithful adaptation of Thompson's work.
Tony Scott is truly the wild card here. I'm a huge fan of Scott. Though his films are never transcendent, he's a fearless director when it comes to visual experimentation. There's something to be said in regard to letting Thompson's words just speak for themselves. And I certainly wouldn't want to see a Gaghan script akin to Traffic get the Domino treatment - but Scott's dynamism may be just the lens the material needs. Regardless, watching the experiences of Hell's Angels as distilled by Hunter S. Thompson as distilled by Stephen Gaghan makes me very, very excited. But should the director's chair read a different name?
Reader Feedback - 11 Comments
been looking forward to this movie and hope this movie is done correct and accurately. It is a great book. Just tell the true story of the Angels and don't get weird or try too hard to dramatize American history. I would think that Sonny Barger would want it that way as well. Additionally, I don't think Hunter Thompson ever became a Patch while "riding with" the Hells Angels.
Billy Jack on Jun 18, 2009
Gaghan is an excellent writer, but I'm leary of Tony Scott as the director. Having not read the book, I can't come up with a name myself, but if THE RUM DIARY turns out well, maybe Bruce Robinson should be considered.
Corran Horn on Jun 18, 2009
Thompson was never a member of the Hells Angels and never claimed have been. Not a good start for a non-fiction movie.
Fred T on Jun 18, 2009
I know the book is titled Hell's Angels, but just for the record the Motorcycle Club Hells Angels has no apostrophe as stated at the beginning of this article.
Mr T on Jun 18, 2009
Gimme a break. Hunter Thompson a Hells Angel? No way. First - spell the name the way the club does. Hells Angels (not Hell's Angels). Then get the facts straight. Then forget about the movie because there is no way this could possibly be close to reality with the screw ups to date!
Jayne Kelly on Jun 18, 2009
this was a cut and paste job by writer brandon lee what-ever thats why he has no source listed thompson was a hang around at best and his work from the 60's is dated and stale
big bill on Jun 19, 2009
Whats up with this movie? Seems like just a bunch of talk.
billy jack on Mar 16, 2010
It'll work, only if Johnny Depp is involved. Him and Hunter were close friends and Johnny just finished the Rum Diary, so Hells Angels would be the next logical step, no?
Rigo Putango on May 26, 2010
You know John Cusack is just as capable as Depp to play Hunter.
Fnord on Oct 1, 2010
Olivares722 on Dec 27, 2011
The prolonged rape scene in the book has prevented it from being considered previously as a film. Since the scene is so intrinsic to the narrative, and also there was a famous rape trial for H.A. after the book came out, movie companies have passed on this. The book is not dated nor is it inaccarate. Those who have read it I'm sure would all agree it is immensely suitable for a great movie. Hunter approached the Angels and asked to interview them and tape them. He asked their permission and their advice and opinions. He was never a member of the Angels. If you read the book -- he paid a price for his involvement with them and nearly lost an eye. I wouldn't disparage someone like Tony Scott. I'm sure he could do a great job directing such a film. Why not?
Moonshade4 on Jun 26, 2011
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