Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Rum Diary

Most of my favourite filmmakers (Terry Gilliam, Peter Greenaway, John Waters, Ken Russell et cetera) take a little time to release movies they've shot, and the same can be said for Bruce Robinson, his last directorial effort Jennifer Eight was released in 1992. The Rum Diary finished shooting in 2009 I think, and I've been wondering about its status ever since.

However it is finally on our cinematic doorsteps. Slightly less pronounced than Gilliam's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but I gather Bruce's commitment to the writing process will provide for us a very enjoyable film. From the previews there is something Peter Bogdanovich about it, which I think I will like, as I also enjoy the work of Peter Bogdanovich.

Those of you unfamiliar with Robinson's work, will most likely recall either The Killing Fields or Withnail & I. The latter being a film which inspired my youthful antics, and the production story behind it is also very interesting. Particularly from the performance of Richard E Grant, who is a teetotaler and non-smoker, as the boozed up, chain smoking Withnail. Withnail & I was produced by Handmade Films, the production house began by George Harrison (The Beatles) in order to make Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Of which my four year old is currently watching now as I type up this post).

Another Bruce Robinson film, less known but also a favourite of mine is How to get ahead in advertising, which features Richard E Grant as an advertising executive who grows a second head.  My experience with Hunter S Thompson is limited to biographical information about him. My reading trajectory never quite reached him, having gotten as far as William S Burrows, important authors like Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer who I put in the same ilk as Thompson I have yet to read.

This being because I got stuck in a different century, the 18th mainly. However, being that I've eagerly consumed a great deal of Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski and Lawrence Durrell, and dabbled in Kenneth Patchen, Hubert Selby Jr, and Jack Kerouac; I have a sense of the nature of Hunter S Thompson's work and that I admire it, even if from afar at this juncture of my reading life.

Although I think Johnny Depp is the suitable man for the job portraying Hunter S Thompson, I wonder if Bruce wasn't chosen (If that is the case, since he did adapt the novel which might prove me wrong with that) because of Withnail & I, being that Hollywood producers would be looking for a director who can represent a drug and booze haze on the big screen, much in the same way that Gilliam is the likely candidate for a world gone surreal on hallucinogenic drugs. Perhaps Barbet Schroeder was also considered, for his film Barfly.

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