Johnny Depp says he thinks his friend, writer Hunter S. Thompson, would have enjoyed the film adaptation of his book, "The Rum Diary."
Thompson, who suffered from alcohol and drug addiction, wrote the novel in the 1960s, when he was in his 20s. In the "Rum Diary" film, Depp plays main character Paul Kemp, a journalist who moves to San Juan, Puerto Rico, to write for a newspaper seemingly staffed entirely by fellow alcoholics.
Thompson also wrote "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and Depp played him in a 1998 film adaptation. The two became close before Thompson committed suicide in 2005 at the age of 67. When asked what he thought the late writer would have thought about the "Rum Diary" movie, Depp said he thought his review would have been favorable.
"I think initially, he would have said something to sort of make me uncomfortable, he probably would have said something to take my legs out, and then he would have given us a good review, I believe," Depp told the Associated Press at a recent premiere for the film. "I think he would have loved it and I think he would have been very proud of what (director and screenwriter) Bruce Robinson did with his work."
Filming on "The Rum Diary" began in 2009. The movie also stars Aaron Eckhart, Giovanni Ribisi, Richard Jenkins and Amber Heard, who reportedly beat out Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley for the role of Kemp's female obsession, Chenault.
"The Rum Diary" has been in pre-production since 2000 and Depp has been working on the film on-and-off since 2007. The actor tried to keep the author's spirit alive on set.
"I think he was just sort of always there, Hunter, but at the same time, for me, he is there every day," Depp said about Thompson.
"Every time I lay my head on the pillow to go to sleep, I have his words in my head," the actor said. "Every day I wake up, every waking moment in between - he's always there because he's so saturated in my being. But certainly keeping his spirit alive on-set, for people who didn't know him - was that - let's have a chair with his name on it, let's have his script. He's producing the film and let's keep it at that. He had his scotch, his Chevas, his whiskey, he had his smokes."
Depp and fellow actors Sean Penn and Lyle Lovett were among those at the author's funeral, where Thompson's ashes were shot out of a cannon at his Colorado ranch, as per the writer's final wishes.
"He's one of the last great individuals, he's one of the last great journalists who was of the old school," Depp said about Thompson. "I salute that man greatly and I hope he's all right."
Depp is known for taking risks in his career, having played edgy roles such as "Edward Scissorhands," and was careful not to hold anything back or fear failure in his new role.
"I think that's part of the deal, it's one of the necessary evils," Depp told the Associated Press. "There has to be some semblance of fear, just sort of 'Hey this might not work' or 'I might fall flat on my face' or 'This might get real ugly.' But I think you have to do that if you're going to do anything. You know, push forward and try something different."
Robinson, who adapted the screenplay from Thompson's novel and also directed the film, took a risk of his own - he had to give up more than six years of sobriety in order to finish the script. Robinson told The Independent that he overcame his writer's block by drinking a bottle of wine a day until he finished the script and then he quit drinking again.
"I wrote the script pretty quickly after that," Robinson told the UK newspaper. "But I stuck to wine as a medicine. I drank a bottle a day. When I finished the script, I went back to total sobriety."
"The Rum Diary" hit theaters on October 28, 2011. Watch the trailer below.