Tagged: Paul Kemp

The Rum Diary: Kemp’s Off-White Corduroy Trucker Jacket

Johnny Depp in costume as Paul Kemp on the set of The Rum Diary (2009)

Johnny Depp in costume as Paul Kemp on the set of The Rum Diary (2009)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

The end of this week means the start of summer, arguably the strangest summer I’ll have experienced in my thirty years. The global coronavirus pandemic has seen the cancellation of sunny getaways, a halt in peanut or crackerjack sales at old ballgames, and consumers foregoing bathing suit deals in favor of fashionable face masks (like these Magnum, P.I.-inspired masks made by my friends at Aloha Funwear!)

In the spirit of what promises to be a surreal summer, I’m exploring a functional look extracted from the chaos of The Rum Diary, adapted from Hunter S. Thompson’s semi-roman à clef inspired by his brief career with the Puerto Rican sporting magazine El Sportivo. More than a decade after he portrayed HST surrogate Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Johnny Depp returned to star in this somewhat less successful adaptation of a chapter from his late friend’s life.

Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Gabardine Windbreaker and Chinos

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

“In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” heralded Hunter S. Thompson’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in November 1957, a considerable understatement given the iconic writer’s eventual symbolic anti-authoritarian status.

Following his discharge, Thompson tried a few journalistic stints in New York but was fired by Time (for insubordination) and the Middletown Daily Record (for damaging a candy machine) and moved to Puerto Rico in 1960.

Having failed to procure a position with the San Juan Star, Thompson wrote for the El Sportivo sporting magazine… though it folded quickly after his arrival. His experiences in San Juan formed the basis of The Rum Diary, a novel that he penned shortly after his return to the U.S. the following year, although it wasn’t published for more than three decades.

While it would be inaccurate to describe The Rum Diary as a strict roman à clef, its morose, restless narrator Paul Kemp is clearly modeled on Thompson himself, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp was naturally tapped to play the role in the film adaptation. Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Kemp’s Striped Linen Shirt and Jeans

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011), with co-star Amber Heard.

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011), with co-star Amber Heard.

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist and borderline alcoholic

St. Thomas, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

All the balls that Paul Kemp was juggling at this point have begun to fall. His grasp on his job, his shady dealings with PR whiz Sanderson, and his flirtation with Sanderson’s girlfriend. The bottom falls out when Kemp and photographer pal head to Carnival at Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands after visiting island property for Sanderson’s budding real estate scam.

Bruce Robinson’s script perfectly nails the feeling of the scene as Chenault leads Kemp by the hand to Sanderson’s yacht:

Like walking the plank in reverse, they invade a small drinks party.

Other than the glamorous Chenault, none of the new visitors fit in with Sanderson’s cosmopolitan set. Continue reading

Paul Kemp’s Blue Suit Jacket and Corvette in The Rum Diary

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011).

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011).

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist and borderline alcoholic

Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

Car week continues with a story by an American icon involving an iconic American car.

More than a decade before becoming the face and beautifully twisted mind of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson was a struggling writer who had recently been discharged (honorably, but with prejudice) from the U.S. Air Force and had a few legal issues to his credit, not the least of all being the sinking of nearly every boat in a Kentucky harbor by shooting holes into the boats’ hulls just below the waterline. Continue reading