Focus Features has just released the first trailer for its upcoming Anthony Bourdain documentary, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain. The film, due in theaters July 16, is the latest project from 20 Feet From Stardom and Won’t You Be My Neighbor? documentarian Morgan Neville.
Featuring tons of footage of his various television appearances, along with interviews from his closest friends and confidants, the film explores how Bourdain rose from anonymous chef to become a world-renowned cultural icon. Along the way, it will explore how his bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly reverberated through the restaurant industry, and how his travel programs, A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, and Parts Unknown expanded their impact beyond regional foods.
“It was almost never about food,” chef David Chang recalls in the trailer. “It was about Tony learning how to be a better person.” Chang, who founded the Momofuku restaurant group, was friends with Bourdain, and appeared twice on No Reservations. Chang also collaborated with Neville on Netflix’s Ugly Delicious.
That kind of high-minded talk might feel treacly for remembering a travel show host, but Bourdain’s shows were always about so much more than travel. Indeed, his approach rarely highlighted specific sites or attractions, instead focusing on experiences and people, and especially the kinds of familiar conversations that can happen over a good meal. His was a life every bit as inspiring as the trailer’s soundtrack suggests, and with a director like Neville at the reins, this movie is sure to take deft aim at our collective heartstrings.
Of course, much of that emotional tension comes from Bourdain’s own voice, pulled from his countless shows, which takes on a bittersweet tone in the wake of his suicide. “Travel isn’t always pretty,” Bourdain reminds us in the trailer. “You go away. You learn. You get scarred, marked, changed in the process.” In the context of Bourdain’s life, those are some complicated emotions to dig into, and that’s just the trailer. The actual film is going to reduce me to a blubbery mess.
Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain hits theaters July 16. Check out the trailer below.