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Upcoming Anthony Bourdain Documentary Will Focus on Late Chef’s ‘Uncommon Life’ and Legacy

Documentary Anthony Bourdain Uncommon Life Is in the Works
Anthony Bourdain during filming of his TV show ‘Parts Unknown’ on December 5, 2011 in Lisboa, Portugal. Jose Sena Goulao/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Anthony Bourdain’s story is headed to the big screen. The late chef, who died by suicide in June 2018, will be the subject of an upcoming documentary from Focus Features, CNN Films, and HBO Max.

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The forthcoming film, which is set to focus on Bourdain’s “uncommon life,” is slated to be directed and produced by Academy Award-winning director Morgan Neville. The acclaimed director, 52, won an Oscar in 2014 for 20 Feet from Stardom.

“Anthony Bourdain did more to help us understand each other than just about anyone in the history of television,” Neville said via a press release announcing the project. “He connected with people not in spite of his flaws, but because of them. To have the opportunity to tell his story is humbling.”

Though many of the specifics involving the documentary have yet to be announced, including a release date, this work has the stamp of approval from those who were closest to the New York native. In fact, the Bourdain estate will provide access to the Kitchen Confidential author’s family photos, home movies, letters, music and “other content that will add greater insights into his work and life.”

Additionally, Lydia Tenaglia and Christopher Collins — founders of Zero Point Zero Production and creative collaborators with Bourdain for nearly two decades — will be consulting producers for the film. Kimberly Witherspoon, Bourdain’s longtime agent and literary executor, will also serve as a consulting producer.

“Having worked with Anthony Bourdain for close to 20 years, Chris Collins and I felt very protective over the story of his life and the decision on who to direct it,” Tenaglia said. “In Morgan Neville’s hands, we are sure to get a nuanced portrait of the complex, wildly creative man we knew.”

Documentary Anthony Bourdain Uncommon Life Is in the Works
Anthony Bourdain at the film premiere for ‘Wasted: The Story of Food Waste’ on October 5, 2017 in New York City. Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

Focus Features will first release the documentary exclusively in theaters worldwide before the film premieres on television on CNN and streams via HBO Max.

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This documentary is just one of the many ways Bourdain has been honored since his death. In May, a book of tributes called Anthony Bourdain Remembered was released. It features touching words about the culinary pro from former president Barack Obama, fellow chef Daniel Boulud and more.

The following month, several of Bourdain’s friends, including chefs Eric Ripert and José Andrés, celebrated “Bourdain Day” on June 25 — what would have been his 63rd birthday.

In September, Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, which he was filming at the time of his death, won two awards at the 71st Creative Arts Emmy Awards after receiving a total of six nominations. The CNN series that Bourdain hosted and helped create took home trophies for Outstanding Informational Series or Special and Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program. The latter award was won by Bourdain himself for writing the episode titled “Kenya.”

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Bourdain died in France in June 2018. At the time of his death, he was shooting an episode of Parts Unknown with friend Ripert, 54, who found the revered culinary figure unresponsive in his hotel room. Bourdain was 61.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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