From Book to Screen’ Comments on the Rum Diary

Old San Juan still exists today in a few places, photo from wikipedia

My New Nook

I missed the Rum Diary, when it came to the big screen, but since I had read the book several years before the release, I was very interested in how the film turned out. In my case, this meant viewing the movie on my new Nook HD+. Although it took almost two hours to download movie, once I started the feature the movie played uninterrupted until the very end. The picture quality was excellent and the sound was about average. The cost for these two hours of entertainment were just $3.99. (note that I viewed the less expensive SD version, but still found the quality almost identical to the slightly more expensive HD version.

Not Quite Autobiographical

Even though Johny Depp looks only a tad like the late Hunter Thompson, this tale of romance and treachery in the Caribbean is not entirely autobiographical. You see….. Depp never worked at the San Juan Star, he just hung out with a couple of fellas who did. And not surprisingly that hanging out involved a heavy amount of drinking, especially rum, the island favorite. All in all, this combination makers for a good elixir for writing a captivating story which dives into alcoholic despair and the dark side of life.

A scene from the Rum Diary usinf the 1959 Austin-Healy
A scene from the Rum Diary using the 1959 Chevy Corvette

 The Vehicles

The vehicles in the Rum Diary are a classy lot, as they almost steal the show. Two are pictured above and two are shown below.  Not many realize this but two different makes of automobiles were used to portray the red sports car.  Most of the time, a 1958 Austin-Healey was pictured, but sometimes a red 1959 red Corvette was used……(Baby you’re much to fast ).

funky car from th rum diary
This 59 Fiat would have been a new classy car in 1960, the year The Rum Diary supposedly took place.
deppflathead rum diary
This is a Harley-Davidson W Series Flathead motorcyle with a sidecar

Three Cheers to Johny Depp

Without the deep interest of Johny Depp, Rum Diary would have never been printed, much less made it to the big screen. Thompson had always wanted to be a novelist, but never made it that far. Instead, his success came from publication of Hell’s Angers and then the even bigger Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. His journalistic success even attracted the friendship of a young actor named Johny Depp, who was instrumental in transferring Fear and Loathing to the Silver Screen.

Then while hanging out with Thompson at his Colorado ranch, Johnny Depp discovered the manuscripts of several novels, none of which had ever been published….though they had been shopped around a bit by Thompson before he was rich and famous. So first Depp got the manuscript in front of the right people (agents and publishers) and it became a book. And then with Depp’s help it was made into a movie after Thompson had passed on. So, if anyone complains that Depp has had too much influence, I don’t want to hear it here. It my opinion he has saved a good story.


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