First Look: The Rum Diary Starring Johnny Depp, Amber Heard

The Rum Diary starring Johnny Depp
I have a crush on both the bike and the driver | The Rum Diary, FilmDistrict

Hunter S. Thompson has played a big part in Johnny Depp’s career. In 1998, Depp starred in the film adaptation of Thompson’s book [amazon_link id=”B00007ELDF” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas[/amazon_link]. Depp narrated the 2008 documentary [amazon_link id=”B001EDFSIQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson[/amazon_link], and I’ve even heard that his character in Rango was based on the acid-soaked journalist.

Now Depp stars in The Rum Diary, due in theaters Oct. 28, 2011. Based on the debut novel by Thompson, the film tells the unhinged story of journalist Paul Kemp (Depp), who grows tired of the New York madness and crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, and travels to Puerto Rico to write for The San Juan Star, a newspaper run by downtrodden editor Lotterman (Richard Jenkins).

Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary
Johnny Depp as suave Paul Kemp | The Rum Diary, FilmDistrict

Paul soon adopts the rum-soaked tropical life and becomes obsessed with Chenault (Amber Heard), the gorgeous Connecticut-born fiancée of Sanderson (Aaron Eckhart), a businessman involved in shady property development deals. He’s one of a growing number of American entrepreneurs determined to convert Puerto Rico into a capitalist paradise for the wealthy.

When Kemp is recruited by Sanderson to write favorably about his latest unsavory scheme, the journalist is presented with a choice: use his words for the corrupt businessman’s financial benefit, or use them to bring the whole thing down.

The Rum Diary
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary | FilmDistrict

I haven’t read the book (and frankly, had trouble getting through Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – just not my cup o’ rum, I guess), but this looks like a pretty fun movie. It’s a good cast, and the fact that Depp is not only a Thompson aficionado but also a producer is probably a good thing.

It’s rated R (no shock there), so I’m sure it’ll have plenty of adult content. Hopefully, it’ll be a smart grown-up movie and not raunchy for the sake of being raunchy. And even though Drive Angry was just not a great movie, I sort of fell in love with Amber Heard in that film. Now she’s got a nice juice role in The Playboy Club, on NBC this fall. Good for her.

Check out the trailer and see what you think, and follow The Rum Diary on Facebook.


  1. Brandt Hardin Avatar

    I’m very anxious to see Depp embody the good doctor again! Thompson influenced the past few generations with his invention of Gonzo Journalism. His work and antics will live on to influence even more generations to come. I paid tribute to Hunter S Thompson and his work with my portrait and article on my artist’s blog at

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Oh that’s awesome. Thanks for sharing the link, Brandt.

  2. […] and in fact, he’s a producer on the film, which has been in the works since 2003. Check out the trailer, and you’ll see that it looks like just the sort of madcap film and devil-may-care character […]

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