Skip to main content

UPDATED: After 2 Years, The Rum Diary Finally Gets A Release Date

It looks like the Johnny Depp starring adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary may finally get released. The movie completed principle photography nearly a two years ago, and since then has been sitting on someone’s shelf with no sign that we’ll ever be allowed to see it. Last night that changed when our own Katey spotted a Rum Diary image at Cinema Con with a release date of October 28, 2011 stamped on it.

The fact that it’s been sitting in someone’s closet for so long probably doesn’t mean good things, but The Rum Diary is perhaps Hunter S. Thompson’s greatest work and, Johnny Depp plays Hunter S. Thompson like no one else. Unlike most of Thompson’s other work, this one is mostly fiction, a fictionalized retelling of the time he spent working for a newspaper in Puerto Rico. Standing in for Hunter in the story is Paul Kemp, a self-loathing, frustrated reporter who abandons New York for a booze soaked life working for a failing, Puerto Rican local newspaper. Amber Heard is the movie’s sex-charged, prone to nude sunbathing, female lead with Aaron Eckhart and Richard Jenkins costarring.

So who’s releasing it? Coming Soon did a little extra digging and discovered that it’s in the care of FilmDistrict, who’s first ever film Insidious is getting a wide release this weekend. The week after they’re releasing Soul Surfer and the newbie company seems to be making a play to become a significant player. They may see The Rum Diary as their way of getting into the Oscar race, assuming it’s any good.

UPDATE! FilmDistrict just sent out a press release confirming the release date. Here's what they had to say:

It was announced today at CinemaCon, by Bob Berney, President, Theatrical Distribution that FilmDistrict will release “The Rum Diary,” based on the early Hunter S. Thompson novel that was ultimately published in 1998. It stars Johnny Depp and will be released on October 28, 2011. The film is directed by Bruce Robinson (“Withnail and I”) from his own screenplay and also stars Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Michael Rispoli, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi. “The Rum Diary” is produced by Infinitum Nihil, the production company headed by Depp and Christi Dembrowski, along with Graham King and Tim Headington. Anthony Rhulen and Robert Kravis also produce.“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.“Hunter S. Thompson became close with Johnny Depp during the filming of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and showed Depp the unpublished manuscript for The Rum Diary,” says producer and FilmDistrict co-founder Graham King. “I am extremely proud to bring this novel to film and to honor Hunter’s legacy.”Peter Schlessel, CEO of FilmDistrict and President of GK Films, says, “The Rum Diary” is a special project for all of us here, as it is a true collaboration between both of our entities. Depp gives an extraordinary performance in this remarkable adaptation.”“Robinson directed one of my favorite films, “Withnail and I” – combine that with Hunter S. Thompson and it’s a match made in celluloid heaven,” says Bob Berney, President of Distribution, FilmDistrict.“The Rum Diary” is a GK Films, Infinitum Nihil and Film Engine production produced by Johnny Depp, Christi Dembrowski, Anthony Rhulen, Robert Kravis, Tim Headington and Graham King.

For more on The Rum Diary visit its page in our Blend Film Database.