Amid years of strange, unconventional friendship, Johnny Depp and the late Hunter S. Thompson developed a relationship built on trust, love and admiration.
It was back in 1998 when Thompson’s iconic piece of Gonzo journalism, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, was adapted into a film by director Terry Gilliam. The high profile project, which went on to be hugely successful at the box office, starred Johnny Depp in the lead role. It was from that moment onwards he and Thompson developed a close understanding.
The pair would regularly meet at Thompson’s farm to chew the fat, shoot his guns and talk about literature, life and other musings. It was once said that Depp was the one to encourage Thompson to publish his novella ‘The Rum Diary’.
Thompson was “hypersensitive,” in Depp’s words. “Whatever his intake was, was his intake, but if you were prepared to go that extra mile, he would stop you just to make sure,” he added. Thompson, who eventually shot himself aged 67, had devised an elaborate funeral to which Depp helped fund—a project which is rumoured to have cost in excess of $3 million.
“All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true,” said Depp at the time. “I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.”
How did he want to go out? By being blasted out of a cannon while Norman Greenbaum’s ‘Spirit in the Sky’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ played in the background, of course.
The likes of Jack Nicholson, John Cusack, Bill Murray, Benicio del Toro, Sean Penn all attended the ceremony which saw a cannon hoisted to the top of a 47m tower on Thompson’s Colorado farm.
After Thompson’s passing, Depp said he still feels the writer around him “every single day” and that he’s aware of how special their relationship was.
While exploring their friendship, we managed to find some video footage of a young Depp reading aloud some letters he had been sent by Thompson over the years. The clips are a real treat and, being Hunter S. Thompson, probably not suitable for work.
Enjoy them, below: