The website LettersofNote publishes, er… letters of note, one of which I thought was of particular interest. It’s from Hunter S. Thompson to Holly Sorensen, then Production Executive at indie film studio The Shooting Gallery. It seems the Shooting Gallery was at some point in charge of the movie version of The Rum Diary. They were dragging their feet, and Thompson was none too pleased about it. And no one, NO ONE, could fire off an angry missive like the good doctor:
Okay, you lazy bitch, I’m getting tired of this waterhead f’ckaround that you’re doing with The Rum Diary.
We are not even spinning our wheels aggresivly. It’s like the whole Project got turned over to Zombies who live in cardboard boxes under the Hollywood Freeway… I seem to be the only person who’s doing anything about getting this movie Made. I have rounded up Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Brad Pitt, Nick Nolte [!] & a fine screenwriter from England, named Michael Thomas [no longer involved in the project], who is a very smart boy & has so far been a pleasure to talk to & conspire with…
So there’s yr. f’cking Script & all you have to do now is act like a Professional & Pay him. What the hell do you think Making a Movie is all about? Nobody needs to hear any more of that Gibberish about yr. New Mercedes & yr. Ski Trips & how Hopelessly Broke the Shooting Gallery is…. If you’re that f’cking Poor you should get out of the Movie Business. It is no place for Amateurs & Dilletants who don’t want to do anything but “take lunch” & Waste serious people’s Time.
F’ck this. We have a good writer, we have the main parts casted & we have a very marketable movie that will not even be hard to make….
And all you are is a g’ddamn Bystander, making stupid suggestions & jabbering now & then like some half-bright Kid with No Money & No Energy & no focus except on yr. own tits…. I’m sick of hearing about Cuba & Japs & yr. Yo-yo partners who want to change the story because the violence makes them Queasy.
Sh’t on them. I’d much rather deal with a Live asshole than a Dead worm with No Light in his Eyes…. If you people don’t want to Do Anything with this movie, just cough up the Option & I’ll talk to someone else. The only thing You’re going to get by quitting and curling up in a Fetal position is relentless Grief and Embarrassment. And the one thing you won’t have is Fun…
Wow, that got me hard. It also says a lot about how the movie business works. Letters of Note points out that The Shooting Gallery folded later that year, in 2001, but the name may sound familiar to FilmDrunk readers…
The Shooting Gallery, if you’ll remember, was the same studio that owed my old friend Allan Weisbecker $15,000 for the rights to Cosmic Banditos. They’d been giving him the runaround, telling him they’d pay him in 30 days. He got his check, but only after physically threatening John Cusack and a few other people, and The Shooting Gallery folded 15 days later — of course, they’d never intended to pay him at all. But as momma always said, Hollywood can’t hurt you if you hole up in the bathroom and eat ice cream. We don’t talk about her anymore.
[Original letter here, thanks to Matthew for the tip]