Capítulo I _ Cinema – Arte

Adapting Hunter S. Thompson’s Writing to Cinema: Despicable Characters and (apparent) Lack of Purpose

Manuel João de Carvalho Coutinho
ICNova - FCSH, Portugal


Back in October 30, 1974 the eyes of the world were set upon what has been called by some as the greatest sporting event of the 20th century. In the capital city Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then called Zaire), the historic boxing event took place pitting the undefeated world heavyweight champion George Foreman against the challenger Muhammad Ali, the former heavyweight. Many reporters from around the world were present, resulting in great works such as journalist Norman Mailer’s The Fight (1975). To cover the momentous event, Rolling Stone magazine sent a reluctant Hunter S. Thompson, who ended up scalping the fight tickets and instead spent the historic moment alone in his hotel´s pool indulging in drugs and a bottle of Chivas Regal whiskey.
To analyse Hunter S. Thompson’s work is to confront oneself with the rambles of a mad man making up rules as he goes through life. From his numerous books, two have been adapted to feature films: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) and The Rum Diary (2011). By mainly deconstructing the latter movie through the ideology of Thompson and its Gonzo journalism with its drug-infused aesthetics and personal experience reporting, I will explore the often misunderstanding of Thompson’s characters and the (apparent) lack of purpose that appears to motivate them. In order to present this argument, this study will consider different characters and moments from the original book The Rum Diary and analyse how/why they were changed in the final movie.

Palavras-chave Gonzo, Jornalismo, Cinema, Arte, Motivação.
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Este trabalho encontra-se publicado com a Licença Internacional Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0.

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