Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville offers a poignant and heartbreaking look at the late chef and host
It’s a strange thing to see Anthony Bourdain before he became Anthony Bourdain™. Before the travel shows, before the Emeril Lagasse insults, before the bestselling books and before the globe-striding fame, there was a 43-year-old chef and recovering heroin addict who was married for 15 years and believed the most adventurous part of his life had passed him by.
Early in Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville’s new Bourdain documentary Roadrunner, we get to see footage of the late chef and TV star who eventually took his own life. And what we observe is something almost innocent and sweet. This was a man totally unaware of what the next two decades would bring him and it was striking to watch Bourdain crack the smile of a mischievous teen as he learns he’ll be a New York Times bestselling author for his swashbuckling memoir. And as his star begins to rise, there’s a moment where he chuckles with delight – and slight disbelief – that a hotel put a bottle of wine and fruit basket in his room to welcome his arrival.
It’s this view of Bourdain – taken from documentary footage that previously hadn’t seen the light of day – that makes Roadrunner especially worth watching. We get to take in Bourdain before the fame and then witness, over two hours, how fame seduced and repelled him in the wake of publishing the hit memoir Kitchen Confidential.