If this  image of Johnny Depp on the set of The Rum Diary is any indication, the actor’s days of playing crazily garbed characters like Jack Sparrow and Willy Wonka appear to be behind him.

He’s back to looking like his normal handsome self, with a tan that can be attributed to the Miami location. Pop Sugar goes wild over the picture of the star in red convertible and sunglasses, saying ” there’s nothing to complain about here, other than wishing we were the ones in that seat to his right. Yum.”

While I don’t know if I’d go quite that far, there is ample reason to excited about Bruce Robinson’s forthcoming adaptation of the novel by the late, great Hunter S. Thompson. There’s Depp’s involvement, for one. A good friend of the author and obviously familiar with the mechanics of translating the world of Gonzo journalism to the big screen, his involvement bodes well for the project’s artistic credibility.

There’s a strong supporting cast, including Aaron Eckhart, Richard Jenkins and Amber Heard, and Robinson’s Withnail & I has a bit of the Thompsonian spirit to it. Lastly the film, set to be released in 2010, is about the challenges of life as a freelance journalist, an apt theme for today’s troubled media climate.

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