Depp goes Gonzo again

Actor to star in 'The Rum Diary'

Johnny Depp will channel Hunter S. Thompson once again in Warner Independent’s adaptation of “The Rum Diary.”

Thesp is producing with Graham King, who acquired rights to Thompson’s novel for his GK Films shingle and Depp’s Infinitum Nihil outfit. Bruce Robinson (“Withnail and I”) will write and direct the adaptation, which Film Engine is also producing.

Depp will play Paul Kemp, a freelance journo writing for a rundown newspaper in 1950s Puerto Rico and surrounded by a bunch of lost souls bent on self-destruction. The journo was 22 when he wrote the autobiographical novel and had yet to develop his trademark gonzo style. It was written in 1959 but not published until 1998.

Depp previously starred in the bigscreen adaptation of Thompson’s psychedelic-soaked adventures chronicled in “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” published in 1972.

Depp just finished work on “Sweeney Todd” and is expected to do “The Rum Diary” after “Shantaram,” Mira Nair’s adaptation of the novel about an Australian drug addict who resumes his life of crime after escaping to India.

Infinitum and King are producing that project with Plan B.

Depp has a series of other projects in the works with King through Infinitum, which recently reupped its deal with King. They include an adaptation of “Dark Shadows” (Daily Variety, July 27) and “Sasha’s Story: The Life and Death of a Russian Spy.”

King’s GK Films banner is skedded to begin lensing “The Young Victoria” with Emily Blunt this summer.

Besides “Withnail and I,” Robinson previously penned “The Killing Fields.” He also wrote and directed “How to Get Ahead in Advertising” and “Jennifer 8.”

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