Johnny Depp Drank Tons Of Whiskey Filming ‘The Rum Diary’ For a Sentimental Reason

Johnny Depp is well known for playing by his own rules. While some may judge him for that, Depp found a real friend in Hunter S. Thompson, a writer who also rebelled against the established norms. Together the pair went on to create some amazing films like The Rum Diary that may not have performed as well at the box office as Pirates of the Caribbean but holds a firm place in the hearts of everyone who has seen it.

Johnny Depp smiling in front of a black background
Johnny Depp | Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Some friendships never die

Hunter S. Thompson, born in 1937, decided early on to do things his way. He was known in his family as being a bit of a troublemaker because he didn’t play by the rules, but it helped him greatly in his chosen field of writing. Thompson wrote two novels called Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas as well as The Rum Diary. He also wrote for publications such as Rolling Stone.

It was 1994 when Depp and Thompson met in a tavern called Wood Creek Tavern. It was quite the first meeting. In an interview with Reuters, Depp stated, “I first met him when he walked into the Woody Creek Tavern waving a giant cattle prod and a Taser gun … He invited me back to his place, and I was admiring a nickel-plated shotgun on his wall, 12 gauge. He says, ‘Wanna shoot it?’ …Well, It was about 2:30 in the morning, and then he said, ‘Let’s build a bomb!’ So we built bombs out of propane tanks with nitroglycerin, took it out in the backyard and I shot it. It exploded into, like, an 80-foot (24.3 meters) fireball.”

With such an epic first meeting, it was clear the duo would get close, and so they were. The pair were inseparable to the point that they even lived together off and on over the years. In 2005, Thompson died by suicide at the age of 67. Thompson left behind a detailed list of how he wanted his funeral to take place, complete with a cannon that would fire his ashes back into the world. While many felt this was far too extreme and possibly dangerous, Depp once again had his friend’s back. Or ashes in this case.

Depp spent $3 million dollars to buy a cannon and inserted Thompson’s ashes into it. Depp then fired it off, giving his dear friend the send-off he had requested. 

‘The Rum Diary’ required a lot of alcohol

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There are some movies that seem to call out for a little fun, and The Rum Diary fits that mold perfectly. When Depp found a manuscript for The Rum Diary in Thompson’s home, the pair knew they had to turn it into a movie.

The Rum Diary tells the story of an American journalist named Kemp who travels to the Caribbean to write for a local newspaper. Things are going fine, thanks to a lot of rum when Kemp falls for the fiancé of a businessman who has a less than stellar reputation.

Thompson passed away before seeing the movie made it into production, but that didn’t stop Depp from going forward with the film. It was based off on Thompson, after all, and Depp couldn’t resist the chance to play his old friend on-screen.

Sometimes you just need to relax

It’s hard to produce a film called The Rum Diary without at least a little rum. Or so you would think, anyway. The drink of choice for the cast and crew was actually whiskey. 

According to Screen Rant, Depp and the film crew spent quite a lot of time dipping into the whiskey. This was due to the fact that they were drinking Thompson’s favorite drink, which was Chivas Regal. Thompson may not have been physically present on set, but he still managed to turn the movie on its head by not drinking rum.