New Hunter S. Thompson film focuses on writings

Thu Jul 3, 2008 3:25pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney began filming the story of drug-addled U.S. journalist Hunter S. Thompson at the late author's funeral, he says it was one of his "greatest failures" in making the documentary.

"Nobody wanted to talk, so we just sat there with a camera crew ordering room service, it was pathetic," said Gibney, recalling the estimated $2 million dollar funeral in 2005 funded by actor Johnny Depp and attended by other celebrity friends such as actor Bill Murray.

"They felt this is Hunter, he is very personal to us," he said. "And they did not know me and thought, who is this guy?"

But with the eventual help of Depp and Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter to gain access to Thompson's records, Gibney finished "Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson" that is released in the United States on Friday.

Thompson, famed for developing a first-person narrative "Gonzo" style of journalism that borrowed fictional techniques, as well as for frequently using hallucinogenic drugs, pills and alcohol, shot himself at the age of 67 at his Colorado home.

Early reviews have praised the film, which focuses more Thompson's writings and impact on modern journalism than his experiments with drugs.

"Gonzo has a wealth of delightful archival footage to draw on, both directly involving Thompson and evoking the cultural landscape around him," Variety said in its review.


<p>Journalist Hunter S. Thompson enters a New York television studio on June 10 for an interview with talk-show host Charlie Rose. REUTERS/Stringer</p>