It was just a matter of time before FilmDistrict would pick a date for The Rum Diary, starring Johnny Depp. It’s going out during the prime fall season, October 28. The film, which has long been on the shelf, marks Depp’s second flirtation with the work of Hunter S. Thompson, who became close with the actor during the filming of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and showed Depp the unpublished manuscript, says producer and FilmDistrict co-founder Graham King. “I am extremely proud to bring this novel to film and to honor Hunter’s legacy.”
FilmDistrict theatrical distribution chief Bob Berney made the announcement at CinemaCon. Directed by Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I) from his screenplay, The Rum Diary also stars Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Michael Rispoli, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi. The film is produced by Infinitum Nihil, Depp and Christine Dembrowski’s production company, along with GK Films’ King and Tim Headington. Anthony Rhulen and Robert Kravis also produce.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“The Rum Diary” tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Depp). Tired of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local San Juan newspaper run by the downtrodden editor Lotterman (Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked lifestyle of the late ‘50s version of Hemingway’s “The Lost Generation,” Paul soon becomes entangled with a very attractive American woman, Chenault (Heard) and her fiancée Sanderson (Eckhart), a businessman involved in shady property development deals. It is within this world that Kemp ultimately discovers his true voice as a writer and integrity as a man.
Founded in September by GK Films, in partnership with Peter Schlessel, FilmDistrict’s first release will be fest horror flick Insidious (April 1), followed by surfer girl biopic Soul Surfer (April 8) and thrillers Drive (September 6) and Lockout (February 24, 2012). Yet to be dated is GK Films’ crime drama London Boulevard, starring Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley, from writer-director William Monahan.
GK Films and Infinitum Nihil are also producing Martin Scorsese’s Hugo Cabret (Paramount) as well as Tim Burton and Depp’s next collaboration, Dark Shadows (Warner Bros.). Someday their long-in-development Shantaram, adapted by Eric Roth from the book by Gregory David Roberts, will get up and running with Depp. Mira Nair was to direct the film but it fell apart over budget issues.