Theatrical release: May 22, 1998.
Filmed on location in Las Vegas, southern Nevada, and Los Angeles and at Warner Hollywood Studios.
The film was screened at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15, 1998.
Estimated budget: $21 million.
Hunter S. Thompson's book was based on a trip he took with Oscar Zeta Acosta.
Benicio Del Toro gained nearly 40 pounds to play Dr. Gonzo.
Shooting lasted about 50 days.
One of the wardrobe production assistants was Amy Rainbow Gilliam, one of Terry's daughters.
The film includes music by Robert Goulet, Tom Jones, Combustible Edison, Big Brother & the Holding Company, the Lennon Sisters, Elmer Bernstein, Wayne Newton, the Yardbirds, Jefferson Airplane, Three Dog Night, Bob Dylan, the Youngbloods, Ohio Express, Buffalo Springfield, the Rolling Stones, Booker T. & the MGs, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Debbie Reynolds, and Dead Kennedys.
The film's illustrations are by Ralph Steadman, who illustrated the original novel; he is thanked in the credits "for inspiring us all." The shirt that Tobey Maguire wears in the film features a Steadman illustration.
Terry Gilliam took over from writer-director Alex Cox (REPO MAN), who left because of creative differences. Cox said, "With Gilliam directing, we'll see the bats."
Among the people interested in making a film of the book since it first came out were Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, and Ridley Scott.
Johnny Depp spent nearly four months together with Hunter S. Thompson prior to shooting. Depp told a Cannes press conference, "He was generous with his time and his private life. He even let me move into his basement. Become a termite."
At the Cannes press conference Gilliam said, "Number one, FEAR AND LOATHING is not a prodrug film. Anybody who sees this film isn't going to rush out and start to do drugs."
The Plymouth Valiant used in the film actually belonged to Thompson.
Thompson makes a cameo appearance in the film.
When Gilliam took over production from Cox, he and Tony Grisoni wrote a new script in eight days, then revised that in another two days.
Thompson referred to the film as a "lonely trumpet call over a lost battlefield."
At a New York City bookstore in May 1998, Gilliam burned his Writers Guild membership card because of a dispute over crediting Alex Cox and Tod Davies, who wrote the original script, which was not used. An introductory scene cut from the final film featured musician Ray Cooper claiming that the government would have viewers believe that the film was not based on the original screenplay by Gilliam and Grisoni--the one that was published as NOT THE SCREENPLAY.
The name of the rally Duke was sent to cover was the Mint 400 Off Road Rally.
In one bar scene Roger Pratt is paged; Pratt was Gilliam's longtime cinematographer but did not work on FEAR AND LOATHING.