When Anthony Bourdain took his own life three years ago this month, it left a gaping hole in the food world. Friends, colleagues and fans have been coping since, turning to ways to commemorate his life. In that time, the final season of his CNN show Parts Unknown has aired; the book he was working on was finished by Laurie Woolever, World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, and published in April; and his old friends José Andrés and Eric Ripert have celebrated his life each year on Bourdain Day, June 25.
Now, the late chef’s life will get the documentary treatment with the film Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain, from Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom). You can watch the just-released trailer above. Neville—who co-created Ugly Delicious with chef and Bourdain friend David Chang—uses interviews with Bourdain’s intimates and ample footage of the peripatetic chef to tell the story of his rise from anonymous cook to someone who could get a president of the United States to slurp noodles with him in Vietnam on camera.
Though he was called a celebrity chef, his fame came not because he changed gastronomy like Alice Waters, David Chang or René Redzepi, but because he was a journeyman cook who happened to have a great knack for writing. His life changed when he wrote the restaurant-world tell-all Kitchen Confidential, vaulting him out of the kitchen and to travel-doc series with the Food Network, Travel Channel and eventually CNN. His shows birthed a host of copycats, where a host eats their way around the globe. But none could match him. He transcended food to find a connection to the places he covered, while also having a deep love of cinema that drove him to capture stories, people and cityscapes in visually compelling ways.
The film, produced by Focus Features, CNN Films and HBO Max, will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 11 and be released in theaters on July 16.