As we all know Johnny Depp is one hell of a popular and in-demand actor. Upcoming he’s got the Michael Mann crime film Public Enemies, then he’s got his step-in appearance for the late Heath Ledger in Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus and following that he’s got yet another Tim Burton collaboration as he portrays The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.

And now a casting call has come out that suggests that Depp’s next role will be in the adaptation of the Hunter S. Thompson novel The Rum Diary, which is set to start production in March this year. If Depp is cast he will play Paul Kemp, described as “a divorced, alcoholic, and struggling novelist”.

Here’s the story of the novel:

A journalist named Paul Kemp, who moves from New York to work for a small newspaper, The Daily News, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Set in the late 1950s, the novel encompasses a tangled love story of jealousy, treachery and violent alcoholic lust among the American expatriates who staff the newspaper.

The adaptation has been in development hell for the last 10 years or so – production was scheduled way back in 2000 and again in 2003, switching production companies, directors and financial backers along the way. Before his death Thompson spoke of his strong desire to see it be made.

Depp isn’t the only actor to be attached to the project – others including Josh Hartnett, Benicio Del Toro (Depp’s co-star in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and Nick Nolte, amongst others, but none of these are attached anymore.

When I first read the story outline (given above) I immediately thought of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, even before I found out the two projects were linked by the same writer. To me it sounds a bit too similar although perhaps it’s supposed to be that way, functioning as a sort of companion piece.

However I am intrigued that Depp might play this role – he was absolutely fantastic in Fear and Loathing, and I would welcome seeing him portray a similar type of character again.

Generally it’s surprising he’s choosing to work as much as he is, it wasn’t that long ago that all he seemed to play was Captain Jack Sparrow. But I, for one, am glad he’s broken out of that mould and has started to play a diversity of roles again.

Have any of you read the source novel of The Rum Diary and if so do you think Depp will fit the role well?

Sources: The Bad and Ugly, Contact Music and Moono