Based on the famous semi-autobiographical novel by late Hunter Thompson (died February 20th 2005). Our respect for you.
Ralph Steadman, who illustrated the book, was a good friend of Gilliam and began to bug him over the years to do a film version of Fear and Loathing. In 1989, Gilliam remembers a "script turned up which briefly got me excited about the book again, but I was busy with another project and I ultimately decided that the script didn't capture the story properly."
However, in 1997, when Gilliam got the call from Laila Nabulsi, one of the film's producers, to direct, the time seemed to be right. Gilliam said in an interview, "she sent me a script, and it reminded me of how funny and good the book was. I didn't really care for the script, but it inspired me to go back and read the book again."
Terry Gilliam seemed like the perfect choice to direct this film. The theme of insanity had always figured into his films but has since taken a more prominent role with his last couple of projects. As a result, Fear and Loathing completes an informal trilogy based on madness that includes The Fisher King (1991) and Twelve Monkeys (1995).
When Gilliam had first read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas back in 1971, he "immediately identified with what Hunter was saying. I'd left the States to move here for the very same reasons that Fear and Loathing was written -- that feeling the ideals of the '60s had died and that it was all fucked. I was so angry I was going to start throwing bombs. So when I read the book it was like, 'Jesus! He's got it! That's exactly how the fuck I feel!'" Gilliam enjoyed the book but didn't think about it for years afterwards.
Benicio Del Toro:
Raoul Duke (Hunter S. Thompson)
Dr. Gonzo - (Oscar Zeta Acosta)
Waitress at North Star Cafe
Highway Patrolman (M. Sulliven)
Magazine Reporter at Mint 400
Blonde TV Reporter
Desk Clerk at Mint Hotel
Speaker at D.A. Drug convention
Barker at Bazooko Circus
Dr. L. Ron Bumquist
Musician in Matrix Club Men's Room
Voice of film narrator
Director of photography:
Patrick Cassavetti, Laila Nabulsi
Elliot Lewis Rosenblatt
Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni
Hunter S. Thompson
Terry Gilliam, Tony Grisoni, Tod Davies, and Alex Cox
Release date: 22 May 1998 at 1,125 theaters