Johnny Depp is set to star in the movie version of my first published novel, The Rum Diary, due to hit theaters sometime in 2011. Depp plays the character of Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist who travels to Puerto Rico in the late 1950’s to write for The San Juan Star. He soon gets himself into a dangerous rum drinking habit and becomes obsessed with a woman named Chenault, played by Amber Heard. The film is being directed by Bruce Robinson. Filming began in Puerto Rico in March of 2009.
I wrote this story when I was only 22. It’s loosely based around events happening in my own life at the time. I had actually applied to write for The San Juan Star, but those dirty bastards rejected me. I ended up going over to write for some dying sports paper, but ended up becoming friends with many of the writers for the Star. So my trip provided the basic context for the novel, but the storyline is entirely fictional.
I had originally written this book in, I think 1961, but it wasn’t published until 1998. I had given up on the novel for a while. It “bounced about seven times – I got the standard list of rejection letters – and I came back from South America and I got into the politics of the 60s and 70s, and it was a full time job.” Eventually though, I just had to revisit the novel. Partly because I needed the money, but it’s a good story. It deals a lot with fear. A fear of growing old. At heart though, this is a love story. It has some other elements to it but it’s got a pretty basic romantic notion to it.
Look for this one in theaters soon. It’s sure to be a good one.