Johnny Depp Set for Hunter S. Thompson Sendoff

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ASPEN, Colo. – Johnny Depp will interrupt filming of the second through fifth sequels of Pirates of the Caribbean to read selected passages from Hunter S. Thompson’s 352-page suicide note at an invitation-only memorial service for the late author.

Depp, currently starring as a Michael Jackson look-alike in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, funded the construction of the 150-foot tower from which Thompson’s ashes will be scattered at the memorial. He told the Denver Post he is looking forward to the August 20 celebration, which will be held on Thompson’s Woody Creek Farm near Aspen. Depp and Thompson became close friends when Depp portrayed Thompson in the movie version of the latter’s book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Thompson shot and killed himself on February 20. He left behind a rambling, often profane suicide note, which Rolling Stone magazine in conjunction with St. Martin’s Press will publish in book form this fall. The book was originally scheduled to appear in March, but it contained so many potentially libelous references that lawyers hired by Thompson’s wife said they could not possibly clear the book for publication in so little time.

After reading several passages from Thompson’s suicide note, Depp will perform Ballad of a Slaphead, a tribute to Thompson written by Rolling Stone Keith Richards, who appears as Depp’s monkey love child in Pirates.

Following this performance, Depp will use Thompson’s favorite flame thrower to ignite the fuse that will trigger a cannon containing Thompson’s ashes. Jon Equis, the event producer working with Thompson’s family on the memorial service, said the cannon will be perched on top of a tower 12 feet wide at the base, 8 feet wide at the top, and 150 feet in height. The structure will be designed to resemble Thompson’s ‘gonzo fist’ emblem.

According to persons who have read a draft of the Thompson’s suicide note, his death was prompted at least in part by the appearance of his phone number on the Internet after Paris Hilton’s Sidekick had been hacked.

        “That king-hell, soul-sucking, cellulite-brained sleazoid Paris Hilton has sucked me into the maw of her eyeball-frying power trip,” wrote Thompson. “Now every two-bit geek of an editor I ever kept waiting up past his bedtime on a deadline is ringing me as if I’m the local Domino’s Pizza just to give me one of the few remaining pieces of his or her mind.”

The invasion of his treasured privacy wasn’t the only thing that drove Thompson to despair. He apparently made&mdsah;and lost—a large bet with Rush Limbaugh on the Super Bowl.

“I got suckered like a virgin on prom night with her first corsage,” wrote Thompson. “No way I should have let that speech-slurring, OxyContin-popping rat bastard hornswoggle me into taking the Eagles without the points. How was I to know that [Eagles quarterback] Donovan McNabb would swallow his colon when the game was on the line? I’ve seen snitches trapped in the corner of a rest stop on a Hell’s Angels’ run with more composure than that guy.”

McNabb, Limbaugh, and Hilton were only a few of the public figures and celebrities whom Thompson gunned down with bursts of Uzi-like prose. Even Rolling Stone editor, Jann Wenner, who had purchased the rights to Thompson’s suicide note for $10 million some time ago, was withered in the crossfire.

“I hope you’re happy, you pompous, vainglorious Nancy Boy twit,” wrote Thompson. “I can tell your sorry, Mick Jagger-loving ass that I certainly will be glad not having to put up with your limp-wristed voice whining into my answering machine asking how I managed to spend $25 thousand in two days on room service. I ought to send you a bill for all the freakin’ answering machines I shot on account of you.”

In related news, ESPN has secured exclusive rights to film the Hunter S.Thompspon memorial, which will be broadcast on a special edition of Real Sports with Bryant Gumble.    

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