It seems like everyone and their mother has tried to cash in on Hunter S. Thompson’s death by publishing a biography “from their perspective”. As much as I’d like to know the side of Hunter Thompson that only his podiatrist could know, I’d prefer to spend my reading hours learning about Hunter from the people who knew him best during his most prolific years. That includes Jann Wenner and the folks at Rolling Stone back in the early 1970′s. Wenner has recently edited and published a book of the “essential writing of Hunter S. Thompson” from his years at the magazine, and it’s a must read for all Thompson fans. Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writing of Hunter S. Thompson is available in all formats, including Kindle.
Included in this 500+ page volume is nearly ever piece Thompson ever wrote for Rolling Stone, along with a lot of background information for the writing of those articles, mostly in the form of correspondences between Thompson and Wenner. It’s part anthology, part book of letters like Thompson’s critically-acclaimed “The Proud Highway” and “Fear and Loathing in America”.
Thompson was already considered a “discovered” writer by the time he started working for Wenner. He had published “Hell’s Angels” and gained a lot of respect from the young journalists who were trying to break free from the stodgy old journalism mold. This book starts with Thompson’s assignment that leads to the writing of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”, and then a year later his epic political campaign saga “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72″. Things start to get crazy after that as Thompson tries to deal with his ever-growing celebrity and the disconcerting fact that most people confuse him with a pseudo-fictional character he created.
Like most Hunter S. Thompson books, you’ll be done reading this one long before you expected to finish it. It’s never boring, and you’ll find yourself picking it up over and over during every little break in your day, or even during commercial breaks in football games. This might be the best book released so far during the post-Thompson era.
Aspen is one of the richest places in America. Wealthy skiers flock there for vacations or just to stay in their multimillion dollar winter cabins. How Hunter S. Thompson, a man who only skied only once in his entire life, ended up just up the road from this place is as bizarre a tale as even the great gonzo could spin. The Guardian, which has somehow elevated itself from tabloid to more-respectable-than-the-Wall Street Journal in a matter of 3 years and one recession, has a wonderful article on Thompson and the remote area of the Rockies that he once called home.
I found this great short video of Hunter Thompson doing an interview with members of the Hell’s Angels. This is from after the book was published, when the Angels were more than a little mad at him. They end up looking like savage brutes here, as they argue with Hunter over whether the level to which one of them was beating his woman was acceptable.
It’s been a couple months since Tony Scott (Ridley Scott’s less-talented brother) revealed his plans to produce a movie on Hunter S. Thompson’s first published novel, Hell’s Angels. The script writer is the same guy who did “Traffic”, so this thing has potential. Looks like Hunter S. Thompson nostalgia is making its way to Hollywood.
I came across this video on Google Video (I thought Google had shut that site down and converted everything to YouTube). It’s an early 1980′s documentary made about Hunter S. Thompson as he was doing his college speaking tour. Very interesting stuff, although the quality of the video and audio leaves something to be desired. I just hope the embed code still works:
The Rum Diary is not the only movie connected to the works of Hunter S. Thompson currently in production. Director Gus Van Sant is making Tom Wolfe’s classic book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test into a film. Tom Wolfe borrowed many notes from Hunter S. Thompson to write his book about Ken Kesey and The Merry Pranksters. The sections about the parties at Kesey’s ranch with the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang was taken directly from Thompson’s notes, as were the stories about the Acid Tests taking place at The Matrix in San Francisco. Although Tom Wolfe was considered to be a part of the New Journalism movement, he was less involved in his subjects than Thompson. As someone once told me, “Wolfe was the fly on the wall, Thompson was the fly drowning in your martini.”
Enough of the rumors and speculation, The Rum Diary is currently being filmed in Puerto Rico. Johnny Depp is there and it will be the first film produced by the production company started by him and his sister. Filming shouldn’t take more than a couple months, so expect this movie to be released sometime at the end of this year or the beginning of 2010. Hooray, no more delays, this thing is actually happening!
It seems like it’s been 6 years since I first heard that The Rum Diary was coming to the big screen. As a matter of fact, it has been 6 years. The movie, based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson, has been planned for many years, with all sorts of rumors regarding its cast. The driving force behind the project has been Hunter Thompson’s friend, Johnny Depp, who played Thompson alter-ego Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Depp is still rumored to be the star of The Rum Diary, and he might be luring Scarlett Johannson to play the lead female role of Chenault.
This project is still in casting, with filming expected either at the end of this year or sometime in 2010. Hopefully this will get done now that Depp has the Pirates of the Caribbean films out of the way.