For No Good Reason

Synopsis: Johnny Depp pays a visit to Ralph Steadman, the renown artist and the last of the original Gonzo visionaries who worked alongside Hunter S. Thompson.
Director(s): Charlie Paul
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
89 min


I really

thought what I would do

if I ever learned

to draw properly

was I would try to

change the world.

Is this thing working?

Right now, Ralph,

what exactly are we doing here?

It's a very odd idea

to make a movie,

a film, a documentary,

about an artist, say me.

And in one way

it's rather a good idea,

and in another way you

wonder why one is doing it.

Except that it's become

far more personal

as it's developed

into something which really is

about my work and about me.

And I think that

makes it more interesting

because it takes in

the good and the bad.

It takes in all sides,

all dimensions.

It's almost, when you

come down to see us,

we know what

we're going to do,

even though we haven't

planned anything.

We just simply carry on

and if something comes out,

something does,

and sometimes it doesn't.

And so that seems to me

the kind of thing that's

made this all worthwhile.

I haven't seen Ralph since the

signing of Hunter's memorial poster.

It's been a while,

and I've really

been looking forward

to catching up with him in

his studio at Loose Court.


I'm gonna put a piece

of paper down here.

I don't know why. I think it's

because you're in the room.


If you weren't here,

I'd be having a lie-down now.

Are you ready for this?

'Cause it might not be very good,

but it might be great, too.

Ooh! DEPP:

I love it.

When I don't

know what to do,

- I do that.

- Mmm.

It's a kind of cheat, in a

way, because you don't know

whether you

did it because

you can't do anything and there

is nothing in your mind,

or you did it because

it might just lead somewhere.

It's fantastic

when that happens.

I can see a horse

in there already.


I didn't know what it was

and then I suddenly thought,

"I know what it is."

It's an unloved pet,

and it's a shame

that I drew it, really,

because I don't like it.

It's a horrible-looking


And if it walked into the

living room, I'd kick it out.


And it's a frame of mind.

All I've done

is made something

that's part of a frame of mind

I might be in at the moment.

What a terrible thing.

It was 1969 when

my first book was published.


It was a collected works

of all my cartoons

that I had done

since I had

taken it seriously.

That's absolutely amazing.

This was the beginning,

really, the conducted tour,

and the whole idea of

it being The Pioneers,

it's like you're going,

oh, yeah, you know,

we're going off

on a conducted tour

and everything's comfortable.

And they'd just

get off the bus,

look around and

get back on again.

And then I thought of this

when they brought Muzak in.

So I did the picture called

Down at the Old Bull and Bush.

And there's the old

boy with his pint

and then all this Muzak

coming out of the speaker.

Because it was really only just

getting going, all this stuff.

Part of

my idea of humor

was it would be

slightly maniacal.

But there was

an arrogance missing.

There was

a wildness missing.

There was

a rawness missing.

It lacked

that bite I needed,

that real ferocious bite,

the thing that would

make it noticeable.

Still as relevant

today as it was then.

Great. Amazing.

Just incredible.

The reason

I learned to draw

wasn't just to be able to draw and

people say, "Ooh, that's pretty,"

but that I needed to apply

it as a weapon almost.

It was something

quite savage.

People would

see the work

and they would

think about it.

In a way, it was

a wonderful calling card.

I took it with me

to America.

And that was 1970.

Bus for New York City.

Hey, driver, hold up.

I'm trying to get on.

Hold up, man.

AH right Thanks a lot.


My idea was actually to

do a thousand pictures of New York.


What I was looking

for were things to draw.

New York, skyscrapers

and everything.

It's God's own city, man.

Hey, what's up, man?

Hey, you look fine.

What you trying to make

yourself five bucks for, bro?

Yeah. Hey, hey.

Just run across, man. Just run

across the street. Come on, man.

What it

does for me,

it freezes a moment,

that when

I look back on it,

I think, "Goodness me.

Did that really happen?"

You know,

it's just something

that is frozen in time

and it's gonna change.

Nothing stays the same.

I found it

upsetting seeing all these

vagrant people

wandering the streets

and always

staggering towards you

and grabbing you

by the hand.

And saying,

"Give us a dime, buddy.

"This is a tough city

to get started in."

It's hopeless.

I could never do it.


And I wanted to capture that

sort of look, that face.

I was drawn towards

skid row, I was drawn towards it

as a sort of almost a museum

of misery and deprivation.

And I think this is

a picture of a bum,

and he's hanging

onto a fire hydrant,

and there's a woman saying,

"Why don't you get up

and get yourself a job?"

You know,

that sort of thing.

"You're lyin' about on

the pavement doin' nothin'."

"Oh, leave me alone, lady.

Leave me alone."

I think my experience

in New York

gave me the conviction

that I needed

to make this

the work of my life.

I needed it to reassure myself

that I wasn't wasting my time.

Cartooning meant more to me

than just doing funny pictures.

It meant to change

things for the better.

While I was in New York,

I got a phone call.


To go and meet an ex-Hells Angel

who just shaved his head,

Hunter S. Thompson.

Hunter, he always

called you in the middle of the night.

It was always 3:
00, 4:00 in the morning.

You knew it was Hunter.

He said, "God damn it."

He always said, "God damn it."

"Uh, gotta go to

the Kentucky Derby."

"Well, it was, like,

Wednesday or Thursday.

Kentucky Derby was Saturday.

I was like,

"Well, okay, you wanna go

to the Kentucky Derby,

we'll go."

He says, "Well, a photographer?"

I said, "We'll find somebody."

So, it was short notice, so I

thought of this guy Ralph Steadman,

who was a British cartoonist

whose work I'd seen many times,

- very evil-minded, twisted kind of guy.

- Mmm-hmm.

And so we dragged him

to Kentucky

and they ended up

going through

this haze of alcohol

and drugs, madness,

and so they became part

of the story themselves.

The next day

was heavy.

With 30 hours to post time,

I had no press credentials,

and according to

the sports editor

of the Louisville


no hope at all

of getting any.

Worse, I needed two sets.

One for myself

and another

for Ralph Steadman,

the English illustrator who was

coming all the way from London

to do some derby drawings.

AH I knew about him was that this was

his first visit to the United States,

and the more I pondered that

fact, the more it gave me fear.

Would he bear up under

the heinous culture shock

of being lifted

out of London

and plunged into a drunken mob

scene at the Kentucky Derby?

We had to find

each other, as it were.

Oh, God. Where is he?

Eventually, I heard this

voice behind me saying,

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Langan Kingsley

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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