In an interview I recently did with “Breakfast With Hunter” filmmaker Wayne Ewing, I asked him if he had any tips for aspiring documentary filmmakers. He responded by saying, “My best advice for aspiring documentary filmmakers would be to find situations in which you might have remarkable and unusual access and then exploit it for all its worth.” Here’s a guy that obviously follows his own advice as he’s utilized his friendship with the reclusive Hunter S. Thompson to offer us a unique, and quite possibly once-in-a-lifetime, look into the personal life of Dr. Gonzo. Ever wish you could see what goes on behind those famed, heavily fortified walls of Owl Farm? Here’s your invitation.
Wayne Ewing does us the favor of forgoing generic documentary form and gives fans just what they want – Hunter in action. There are no talking head interviews, no droning narration, no one ever addresses the camera, it’s just we the audience, along with Ewing and his camera, who have been granted the special privilege to hang out on the sidelines and observe this man’s private life. It’s cinema verite at its finest.
“Breakfast With Hunter” features footage stretching some thirty years back with Hunter running for Pitkin County Sheriff, but most of this revealing documentary takes place during the latter half of the 90s as Hunter keeps himself barricaded inside the gorgeous Owl Farm, emerging only to continue his ongoing legal battles with the local authorities and to work on the film version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. There is quite a bit of footage focusing on way early pre-production for the film, when directors were still being juggled around. This includes, what I thought was one of the most jaw-dropping segments of the documentary, the very meeting that ended Alex Cox’s relationship with the production. We’re right there in the middle of the meeting as Hunter rakes Alex over the coals for wanting to incorporate animation into the film. Every Fear and Loathing junkie out there will absolutely want to see this.
All in all, this is a film for the fans, provided by someone who was brave enough to be there to witness the Gonzo madness first hand. There more than likely won’t be a documentary that gets so close to the man ever again. Hope you’re on a liquid diet, because this is “Breakfast With Hunter.”