BOXOFFICE spoke to director Alex Gibney about his new Hunter S. Thompson documentary.

Gibney Goes 'Gonzo'

on November 18, 2008 by Phil Contrino

Even though Dr. Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide on February 20, 2005, his impact is still felt today.

Thompson's life has been chronicled on film before thanks to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Where the Buffalo Roam and in documentary form via Breakfast with Hunter and Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride: Hunter S. Thompson on Film. With Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, director Alex Gibney's used some never-before-seen footage in order to show Thompson's life in the context of the often turbulent times that surrounded it.

Gibney enlisted Johnny Depp to narrate the documentary and he used Thompson's own words to tell the story. The film also features interviews with the likes of Pat Buchanan, Tom Wolfe, Jann Wenner and Jimmy Carter.

While Gibney is certainly well-versed in the language of documentaries (his 2007 doc Taxi to the Dark Side won the Oscar for Best Feature Documentary) he still found it difficult at times to chose from a lot of great footage, such as clips he gathered from Thompson's unconventional funeral.

"You end up finding the balance that seems to be right for the film itself, even if you have material that you'd think on it's own you'd like to watch at much greater length. But at a certain point a story develops a logic of its own, and so that kind of guides you," Gibney told B OXOFFICE.

So, after all the research, what emerged as Gibney's favorite work of Thompson's?

"My favorite Hunter book is Fear and Loathing on the Campagin Trail 1972... There's ruminations about the political process and the character of America that are both so funny and also so poignant and really relevant today. It's just astounding to me."

Since Thompson was so passionately involved in politics, it's hard not to wonder what he would have thought of the recent presidential election. Gibney is confident that the "Good Doctor" would have been happy with the outcome.

"People wanted to embrace something different and I think that Hunter would have been delighted. It's too bad he wasn't around."

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson is now available on DVD.

CLICK HERE to listen to our entire interview with Alex Gibney.

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