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DID YOU READ

15 Booze-Soaked Facts About The Rum Diary

THE RUM DIARY, Johnny Depp, 2011. ph: Peter Mountain/©FilmDistrict/Courtesy Everett Collection

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Grab a bottle—or more—of your favorite booze and head down to the tropics with Hunter Thompson and Johnny Depp as we look at a few facts you may not have known about The Rum Diary.

1. IT’S BASED ON HUNTER S. THOMPSON’S SECOND NOVEL

A then 22-year-old Thompson wrote The Rum Diary in 1959, but it was abandoned until Johnny Depp found it among Thompson’s papers decades later. The book wasn’t officially published until 1998. Thompson’s first novel, entitled Prince Jellyfish, still remains unpublished.


2. THE BOOK AND MOVIE WERE SEMI-AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (STRESS THE “SEMI”)

Many details—including Thompson’s position at the San Juan Star—were true.


3. IT’S THE SECOND TIME JOHNNY DEPP PLAYS A VERSION OF HUNTER THOMPSON

He played Thompson’s persona Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.


4. IT’S THE THIRD TIME A VERSION OF THOMPSON HAS APPEARED IN A FILM

Bill Murray played a version of Thompson in the 1980 film Where the Buffalo Roam, which wasn’t specifically based on any of Thompson’s books.


5. IT’S THE HIGHEST GROSSING MOVIE ADAPTATION OF A THOMPSON WORK

The Rum Diary grossed over $13 million, while Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made over $10 million and Where the Buffalo Roam made over $6 million.


6. THE DIRECTOR CAME OUT OF RETIREMENT TO MAKE THE FILM

Bruce Robinson, perhaps most well known for his 1987 semi-autobiographical film Withnail and I, hadn’t directed a film in 19 years before Depp convinced him to direct The Rum Diary.


7. THE MOVIE CAUSED ROBINSON TO BREAK HIS SOBRIETY

The director was sober for six-and-a-half years before he began drinking again while writing the script for the movie.


8. IT WENT THROUGH MANY VARIATIONS

The movie finally got made after seven years in development. At points throughout the process Nick Nolte, Josh Hartnett, and Benicio del Toro were all attached to star alongside Depp. In fact, it was supposed to be del Toro’s directorial debut before Robinson was ultimately chosen.

9. THERE WEREN’T ANY HOLLYWOOD SETS…

The film shot entirely on location in Puerto Rico.


10. …SO THEY HAD TO DEAL WITH MOTHER NATURE

Despite the beautiful tropical setting, uncharacteristically bad weather delayed many shooting days throughout production. The carnival scene, which included over 500 extras, had to be shot twice.


11. DEPP LOVED PUERTO RICO SO MUCH HE WENT BACK AGAIN WITH ANOTHER BIGGER MOVIE

He requested that portions of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides be shot on the island based on his positive experiences shooting there on The Rum Diary. (Though The Rum Diary was released after Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, it was shot and completed before).


12. THE MOVIE EVENTUALLY LED TO A WEDDING

Depp and Amber Heard, who would marry in 2015, met on the Rum Diary set.


13. AMBER HEARD WASN’T THE FIRST CHOICE TO PLAY CHENAULT

Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley were considered for the part.


14. HUNTER S. THOMPSON WAS ON SET IN SPIRIT

While Thompson died in 2005, Depp and Robinson stipulated that a chair with his name on it as well as a script and a full glass of Chivas Regal rum (Thompson’s favorite drink) had to be present on set every day.


15. A FAMOUS IMAGE FROM THE MOVIE ISN’T AS IT SEEMS

The black and white image of Thompson that appears at the end of the movie, and appears on the book cover of The Rum Diary, is of the author on Palm Beach in Aruba—not Puerto Rico.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.