Everything We Know About 'Roadrunner': the Film About the Iconic Late Chef, Anthony Bourdain

·4-min read
Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown
Photo credit: Frederick M. Brown

It’s been three years since the iconic chef, writer and TV travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain died, and his passing is still much mourned. Whether you became a fan with the launch of his 2000 no-holds-barred food-world expose, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly or across his many engrossing and wide-ranging food-and-travelogues like No Reservations or Parts Unknown, his contribution to the art of food and dining remains undiminished.

The chef was a firm believer in the idea that sitting down and breaking bread with someone was the best way of understanding their culture and their way of life. Throw in a few beers and a bit of grilled meat too, and it’s even better.

Now, Bourdain’s life and legacy is set to be immortalised in a new documentary called Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain - it’ll even be narrated by the man himself. While we wait for the film about the food legend to hit screens, here’s everything we know about it so far:

Photo credit: CNN
Photo credit: CNN

What’s the big idea?

It’s all laid bare in the opening seconds of the film’s trailer as Bourdain admits: “You’re probably going to find out about it anyway, so here’s a little pre-emptive truth telling: there’s no happy ending.” It’s a typically Bourdain-like statement, but few could have known how poignant this would have become.

Bourdain died by suicide, aged 61, in France in June 2018, but before his untimely passing, there were thousands of hours of footage, all narrated by the chef, that could be repurposed and used for this documentary.

According to the official synopsis, the doc - using both archive and unused footage - will be an “intimate, behind-the-scenes look at how an anonymous chef became a world-renowned cultural icon.”

It will also touch on his struggles with mental health, and that he may have found it difficult talking about it, raising the question of whether there’s enough support for people who struggle in the food and hospitality industry.

But ultimately, it will be a celebration of Bourdain’s lust for life.

The film is directed by Morgan Neville, the Oscar-winning director behind the movie 20 Feet From Stardom and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Who else will star in the documentary?

His chef mates like David Chang and Eric Ripert will appear, with Chang getting to the heart of what Bourdain’s world explorations were all about: “It was almost never about food,” says Chang, in the film, “It was about Tony learning to become a better person”, which is a pretty good synopsis of his life and career, actually.

Josh Homme, Queens Of The Stone Age frontman and long time friend of Bourdain’s will also appear - Homme was responsible for the theme music for Parts Unknown, fact fans.

Is there a 'Roadrunner' trailer?

Of course - here’s what you can expect:

When is 'Roadrunner' released?

It’s being premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and the general release date is July 16 in America on CNN and HBO Max, with the UK broadcaster/streamer still to be confirmed.

Hasn’t he also got a posthumous book out, as well?

Yes, World Travel: An Irreverent Guide by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever was released this April. It was a book that had been planned prior to his death and in an interview with Forbes, Woolever said the purpose of the book was: “a list of [...] places that he could recall off the top of his head and had a specific memory or relationship with, or another reason to want to recommend it [...] This book represents a very good selection of those places he'd send someone if they asked him for advice.”

She added that the nature of the book mirrored Bourdain’s love for getting stuck into all experiences: “Fine dining in Lyon, strip clubs in Atlanta and Los Angeles, a crab shack in Cambodia, a museum of erotica in Peru—really reflects that dichotomy of irreverence and respect.”

If I can’t wait for the film, where can I rewatch the classic Bourdain shows?

His vast TV legacy means there’s always a great episode to dive into. Netflix has all 12 series of Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and his perhaps underrated airport-city travel show The Layover and No Reservations are both available on Amazon Prime Video.

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