Breakfast with Hunter


Year: 2003

Directed by: Wayne Ewing

Johnny Depp playing: Himself

Official site imdb screencaps


Breakfast with Hunter is a feature length documentary starring the infamous outlaw journalist Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Edited by director Wayne Ewing from cinema verite film and digital video that he shot over many years on the road with Dr. Thompson, Breakfast with Hunter follows several story lines in the trials (literally) and triumphs of this cultural icon who created his own genre of writing – Gonzo journalism.

The film chronicles Dr. Thompson’s successful attempt to avoid being placed in the system – jail and/or rehabilitation – by rogue Aspen City cops that conspired to bust him for drunken driving on the eve of an important local election. This political story interweaves with his struggle to bring his book “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” to a proper life as a feature film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. The cast of characters he meets on his odyssey, in addition to Depp and Del Toro also include songwriter Warren Zevon, actor John Cusack, artist Ralph Steadman, and fellow journalists George Plimpton and P.J. O’Rourke. (from

About Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter Stockton Thompson was born on July 18th 1937 in Louisville/Kentucky and died at 5:42 pm on February 20, 2005 in Woody Creek/Colorado from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was 67 years old.

Hunter was known for his flamboyant writing style, most notably in his novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which blurred the distinctions between writer and subject, fiction and nonfiction. He was the creator of gonzo journalism and, as such, is widely imitated.

A Louisville, Kentucky native, Thompson grew up in the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood of the Highlands and attended Louisville Male High School. His parents, Jack (d. 1952) and Virginia (d. 1999), married in 1935. Jack’s death left three sons—Hunter, Davison, and James—to be brought up by their mother, who was a heavy drinker. Thompson’s difficult youth, and its influence on his behavior and the development of his misanthropic worldview, awaits serious literary analysis.

In 1960 Thompson moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico to take a job with the sporting magazine El Sportivo which soon folded. Thompson also spent time as a South American correspondent for a Dow Jones-owned weekly newspaper, the National Observer. In the early 1960s he lived and worked as a security guard at Big Sur Hot Springs at the time it became the Esalen Institute.

In these years Thompson wrote two serious novels (“Prince Jellyfish” and “The Rum Diary”) and many short stories, submitting them to many publishers. The Rum Diary was only published in 1998 long after Thompson had become a celebrity. Kennedy later remarked that he and Thompson were both failed novelists who had turned to journalism in order to make a living.

Thompson got his big break in 1965 when he was approached by The Nation editor Carey McWilliams with an idea for a story based upon his experience with the notorious Hells Angels motorcycle gang. Thompson had spent a year living and riding with the Hells Angels, but the relationship broke down when the bikers suspected that Thompson was making money from his writing, and they demanded a share of the profits. Published in 1971, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream is a first-person account by a journalist (Thompson himself, under the pseudonym “Raoul Duke”) on a trip to Las Vegas with his “300-pound Samoan” attorney, “Dr. Gonzo” (a character inspired by Thompson’s friend, Chicano lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta) to cover a narcotics officers’ convention and the “fabulous Mint 400” motorcycle race. During the trip, he and his lawyer become sidetracked by a search for the American dream, with the aid of copious amounts of alcohol, LSD, ether, adrenochrome, mescaline, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs. Ralph Steadman, who collaborated with Thompson on several projects, contributed expressionist pen and ink illustrations.

On August 20, 2005, in a private ceremony, Thompson’s ashes were fired from a cannon atop a 153-foot tower of his own design (in the shape of a double-thumbed fist clutching a peyote button) to the tune of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” known to be the song most-respected by the late writer. Red, white, blue and green fireworks were launched along with his ashes. As the city of Aspen would not allow the cannon to remain for more than a month, the cannon has been dismantled and put into storage until a suitable permanent location can be found. There is talk of a public party sometime in the summer of 2006. Johnny Depp, a close friend of Thompson (and who portrayed Thompson in the movie adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), financed the funeral, according to widow Anita Thompson. Depp told the Associated Press, “All I’m doing is trying to make sure his last wish comes true. I just want to send my pal out the way he wants to go out.” [1] Other famous attendees at the funeral included US Senator John Kerry and former-US Senator George McGovern; 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley; actors Bill Murray (who portrayed Hunter S. Thompson in the movie Where the Buffalo Roam), Sean Penn, and Josh Hartnett; singers Lyle Lovett and John Oates as well as numerous other friends of Thompson. An estimated 280 people attended the funeral.

The plans for this impressive monument were initially drawn by Thompson and Ralph Steadman, and were shown as part of an “Omnibus” program on the BBC, titled “Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision” (1978). It is included as a special feature on the second disc of the 2003 Criterion Collection DVD release of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The video footage of Steadman and Thompson drawing the plans and outdoor footage showing where he wanted the cannon constructed were played prior to the unveiling of his cannon at the funeral.

Douglas Brinkley, a friend and now the family’s spokesman, said of the ceremony: “If that’s what he wanted, we’ll see if we can pull it off.

John Cusak

Benicio Del Toro

Johnny Depp

P.J. O’Rourke

George Plimptom

Ralph Steadman

Hunter S. Thompson

Directed by
Wayne Ewing

other Companies
Entertainment Clearances Inc.

USA 21 June 2003 (CineVegas International Film Festival) (premiere), Canada 27 September 2003 (Calgary Film Festival), USA 9 October 2003 (Austin Film Festival), Denmark 11 November 2003 (CPHDOX Festival), USA 17 April 2004 (Philadelphia International Film Festival)

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