Chef, writer, adventurer and provocateur Anthony Bourdain blazed a path unlike any other in the food and travel world. Now, one filmmaker has retraced some of the “Parts Unknown” star’s steps for a behind-the-scenes look at his life.
“Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain,” directed by Academy Award winner Morgan Neville, takes an intimate look at the man who went from an anonymous chef to a world-renowned name.
Bourdain, 61, died by suicide in 2018 while filming his hit CNN show in Alsace, France.
Neville’s newest work captures Bourdain’s robust, profane and inquisitive character with the help of previously unseen footage from Bourdain’s TV shows, highlights all-new interviews with his friends and family, and showcases his instantly recognizable voiceovers.
The nearly two-hour film unveils a “nuanced portrait of a complex, contradictory and charismatic storyteller” that pays tribute to the man “who reinvented cultural storytelling – and himself – over and over again,” according to the filmmaker.
Although he never met Bourdain and “wasn’t sure what the film was going to be about,” Neville said in a press release, “I only knew I wanted to celebrate the joy and excitement and humor of the man.”
“I soon found the story I wanted to tell was how a hard-living, irreverent chef at a mediocre New York restaurant suddenly shot to fame at the age of 44 and what happened after that,” Neville explained. “Not many people in their mid-40s suddenly go from utter obscurity to absolute fame.”
Ahead of the film’s release, Focus Features and restaurant reservation platform Resy teamed up to recreate and temporarily reopen Brasserie Les Halles to celebrate the bad-boy chef whose time in the Park Avenue French kitchen served as the backdrop for his best-selling memoir “Kitchen Confidential.”
The iconic restaurant, helmed by Bourdain before it closed in 2016, welcomed Neville and his filmmaking team, Resy co-founder Ben Leventhal and original Les Halles co-owner Philippe Lajuanie to toast the life and legacy of Bourdain. Guests sipped on Negroni, dined on steak frites and listened to Bourdain’s favorite band, The Ramones.
Neville’s longtime collaborator and the executive vice president of his company, Tremolo Productions, Caitrin Rogers, said in a press release that making the film opened her eyes to the breadth of Bourdain’s influence.
“Of course, we both were aware of Anthony Bourdain for a long time,” Rogers said. “He’s one of the food world’s superstars. When the opportunity came up for us to do this film with CNN, we were excited about the challenge of telling his story as well as the honor of being allowed to tell it.”
“Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain” opens in theaters on July 16.
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