A Minute With: Johnny Depp and his "Rum Diary"

Wed Oct 26, 2011 5:13am EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Taking a break from his blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, Johnny Depp turns to a low-key role for his new project: starring in and producing "The Rum Diary."

Due in U.S. theaters on Friday, it is based on his friend Hunter S. Thompson's book of the same name.

After portraying a version of Thompson in the 1998 film "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," Depp again becomes the gonzo journalist's alter ego in "Rum Diary," playing the fictional journalist Paul Kemp in Thompson's pre-gonzo years working in Puerto Rico.

The film, set in 1960s, tells the story of Kemp, an American journalist who travels to the Caribbean island to write for a local newspaper. While enjoying a rum-filled lifestyle, he falls for the attractive fiancee (Amber Heard) of a shady businessman (Aaron Eckhart).

Depp spoke to Reuters about Thompson, who committed suicide in 2005, his own connection to the Caribbean and his next role as Tonto in "The Lone Ranger."

Q: You and Hunter were such good friends. Whose idea was it to turn "The Rum Diary" into a movie?

A: "It was his idea to produce it as a film. I found the manuscript (in his home). We were reading it, sitting cross-legged on the floor and he said, 'We have to make this into a film and produce it together.' I said 'Sure,' never knowing that we would full-on go through with it."

Q: What was the next step?   Continued...

<p>Actor Johnny Depp poses at the premiere of his new film "The Rum Diary" hosted by Film Independent at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in Los Angeles October 13, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>