In this film based on a book by the same name, written by Hunter Thompson in 1959, Depp stars as Paul Kemp – a man who travels to Puerto Rico to write for a local newspaper. run by editor Lotterman, played by Richard Jenkins. Kemp covers a story about Sanderson, played by Aaron Eckhart, an American entrepreneur making shady capitalistic deals.
It was about 3am. I was staying with Hunter preparing for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, looking at stuff in boxes in the War Room, which was in his basement next to the room where I slept. There was all sorts of stuff in there – cocktail napkins, toothpicks, old hotel bills, God knows what else – and I found this folder with a rubber band around it, and it just said The Rum Diary. I started reading it and said to Hunter, ‘What’s the matter with you? Publish the thing – it’s great.’ It was that night that he said, ‘Maybe we should make this into a movie together…’