By Borys Kit
May 3, 2010
One of Hunter S. Thompson's last works has been picked up for feature
treatment that could see Thompson onscreen again, this time as a
crusader for justice.
Motion Picture Corporation of America, led by CEO Brad Krevoy, has
acquired rights to "Prisoner of Denver," a June 2004 Vanity Fair
article co-written by Thompson and the magazine's contributing editor
"Prisoner" focused on the injustice and abuse of Colorado's legal
system that saw 21-year-old Lisl Auman charged with murder when the
crime occurred while she was in the back of a patrol car, already in
police custody. She was handed a life sentence with no possibility of parole.
While behind bars, she began a correspondence with Thompson. His
unrelenting grass-roots activism -- which included enlisting
celebrity pals including Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson, Benicio Del
Toro and Woody Harrelson -- and the Vanity Fair piece helped overturn
Auman's sentence in 2005.
Seal started out as a police reporter in the 1970s who idolized
Thompson and his writing. After he wrote a piece on Aspen, Colo.,
Thompson called him and told him about the case and asked him to
help. Seal soon found himself on the road in what he could only
describe as a "Hunter Thompson world," dealing with skinheads, speed
freaks and angry cops.
"My first day I was in a female correctional institution, saying a
line I had been waiting my entire life to say: 'Hunter Thompson sent
me,' " Seal said. "He made being a reporter glamorous and exciting in
the 1970s. It was one of the best experiences in my whole
journalistic career, and it was one of the best causes of his life."
Thompson committed suicide before the case was overturned.
Krevoy will be producing along with MPCA's Mike Callaghan and Reuben
Liber, and Seal. They are looking for writers to adapt the material,
with a focus on Thompson and Seal acting as a couple of gonzo
Woodward and Bernsteins.
Depp created a version of the man, named Raoul Duke, in Terry
Gilliam's "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," and Bill Murray played
him in 1980s "Where the Buffalo Roam." (Could Depp play the writer
again, and play himself at the same time, in "Prisoner"?)
The acquisition of "Prisoner" comes from the MPCA Film Fund, which is
backrolling the company's "Deathgames," starring Samuel L. Jackson,
Kellan Lutz and Daniel Dae Kim.