Hunter S. Thompson in the old days
An authorized biographical series about the life of late author Hunter S. Thompson is in development at MGM Television, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The series will be titled Fear and Loathing, after Thompson’s acclaimed book, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was first published as a two-part article in Rolling Stone in 1971.
Veteran television writer Davey Holmes will helm Fear and Loathingas part of a new overall deal with MGM TV. Holmes has written for shows like In Treatment and Shameless, and most recently adapted Elmore Leonard’s novel, Get Shorty, into a series for Epix. Holmes will continue to serve as showrunner on Get Shorty – which has been renewed for a second season – while writing Fear and Loathing.
It’s unclear what the scope of Fear and Loathing will be, though Thompson’s life and career are packed with plenty of moments ripe for dramatization. Thompson embedded himself in the stories he wrote, pioneering a new style of journalism known as “gonzo.” Along with his notorious, drug-fueled descent into Las Vegas, Thompson wrote similarly haywire stories about the Kentucky Derby, the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and the Honolulu Marathon. He also wrote regularly about sports and politics, notably covering the 1972 presidential campaign and penning countless screeds against Richard Nixon. Thompson remained a prolific writer up until he committed suicide at his home in Colorado in 2005.
Thompson’s life and work have been fodder for movies, documentaries and plays in the past, though Fear and Loathing will be the first television series based on his life. The most notable work is Terry Gilliam’s 1998 adaptation of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which starred Johnny Depp as Thompson. Depp also played the main character, Paul Kemp, in a 2011 adaptation of Thompson’s novel, The Rum Diary. In 1980, Bill Murray played Thompson in Where the Buffalo Roam, which chronicled Thompson’s rise and his coverage of the 1972 election and the Super Bowl.