Principal photography began on The Rum Diary on March 25th, 2009 in Puerto Rico. Based on the first novel by Hunter S. Thompson, the film stars Johnny Depp, who is joined by Aaron Eckhart, Amber Heard, Michael Rispoli, Richard Jenkins and Giovanni Ribisi. Bruce Robinson, who also wrote the screenplay, is directing. The Rum Diary represents the debut film of Infinitum Nihil, the production company headed by Johnny Depp and Christi Dembrowski. The film is also produced and fully financed by Graham King and his production company GK Films. Anthony Rhulen and Robert Kravis are also attached to produce. The movie will be shot entirely in Puerto Rico.
Based on the debut novel by Thompson which initiated his long, distinguished and brilliantly unpredictable career, The Rum Diary tells the increasingly unhinged story of itinerant journalist Paul Kemp (Depp). Tiring of the noise and madness of New York and the crushing conventions of late Eisenhower-era America, Kemp travels to the pristine island of Puerto Rico to write for a local San Juan newspaper, the San Juan Star, run by downtrodden editor Lotterman (Jenkins). Adopting the rum-soaked life of the late '50s version of Hemingway's "The Lost Generation," Paul soon becomes increasingly obsessed with Chenault (Heard), the wildly attractive Connecticut-born fiancee of Sanderson (Eckhart), a businessman involved in shady property development deals.
Bruce Robinson has assembled a stellar behind-the-scenes creative team for The Rum Diary, including director of photography Dariusz Wolski (the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Alice in Wonderland), production designer Chris Seagers (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Deja Vu), nine time Academy Award Nominee and two time Academy Award winner costume designer Colleen Atwood (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, Public Enemies, Sweeney Todd, Sleepy Hollow), editor Matt Chesse (Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland), and casting director Denise Chamian (the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy). Robinson reunites with his old friend Peter Kohn (the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, Body of Lies). Kohn was his first assistant director on Withnail & I and now serves as both first assistant director and co-producer.
Johnny Depp, Christi Dembrowski, Anthony Rhulen, Robert Kravis and Graham King produce. Executive producers are Tim Headington, William Shively, AJ Dix, Greg Shapiro and Patrick McCormick. Peter Kohn acts as co-producer.