Movie News: Hunter S. Thompson & Jack Kerouac Hit the Big Screen in 2010


The Rum Diary is one movie that literature fans have been awaiting for some time. Johnny Depp will be reprising his role as Hunter S. Thompson (well, actually Paul Kemp) and is joined by Amber Heard in the role of Chenault.

The movie seems to have been in the works forever, but all is developing nicely and we should see it on screen this year. News is notoriously sparse and unreliable, but for all the best updates, please check


Hunter S. Thompson fans (ie all the people at Beatdom) will be delighted to know that after waiting years for The Rum Diary to be made, another Thompson story is on its way to the big screen.

“Prisoner of Denver” was an article Thompson co-wrote for the June 2004 issue of Vanity Fair. It concerned the plight of one Lisl Auman, who was wrongfully incarcerated after the murder of a police officer. Thompson launched a crusade for her release, but killed himself a month before her conviction was overturned.

The Motion Picture Corporation of America has bought the rights to the story, and has asked writers to produce a screenplay revolving around Thompson and co-author Mark Seal as “a gonzo Woodward and Bernstein.”


Perhaps of most interest to Beat fans is the supposed reincarnation of the whole On the Road movie trip. For what seems like forever (certainly going back to before I was even born) they’ve been talking about making Kerouac’s classic into a film.

Now it seems the project is all set to go, with Francis Ford Coppola (who has been linked to the project for years) producing, and Motorcycle Diaries director Walter Sales directing. Spider-man’s Kirsten Dunst and Twilight’s Kristen Stewart both starring.

Filming will begin later this year, with Salles simultaneously shooting a documentary about Jack Kerouac, titled, In Search of On the Road.


This year you might also like to take a look at William S. Burroughs: A Man Within. It made its world premiere at the 2010 Slamdance Film Festival, and is now trying to work its way into the public consciousness.

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David S. Wills

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David S. Wills is the founder and editor of Beatdom magazine and the author of The Dog Farm.He travels a lot, and is currently working as a professor in China. His latest book is called Scientologist! William S. Burroughs the Weird Cult.You can read more about and by David at his blog, or on Tumblr.

4 responses to Movie News: Hunter S. Thompson & Jack Kerouac Hit the Big Screen in 2010

  1. I’m hopeful for at least the documentary by Salles. I’m skeptical of On the Road, but I did check out the Burroughs movie site. That looks cool.

    • Yeah, the documentary will hopefully be interesting. Did you ever see Russell Brand’s documentary about On the Road? Everywhere I went in 2007, people told me, “Oh, do you know Russell Brand? He was just here five minutes ago…”

  2. I believe it’s called “Russell Brand on the Road.” Original title, right…

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