HBO Max and Focus Features have teamed with CNN Films and filmmaker Morgan Neville for a documentary about the life of Anthony Bourdain, the influential chef, writer and TV host who died by his own hand in June 2018.
The untitled docu will be released in theaters by Focus before airing on CNN and being made available on the HBO Max streaming service, which is scheduled to launch next spring. Lydia Tenaglia and Christopher Collins, Bourdain’s longtime producing partners on his acclaimed TV series “Parts Unknown” and “No Reservations,” will be consulting producers for the film. Kimberly Witherspoon, Bourdain’s longtime agent and literary executor, will also be a consulting producer. The Bourdain estate is cooperating with the production.
“Anthony Bourdain did more to help us understand each other than just about anyone in the history of television,” Neville said. “He connected with people not in spite of his flaws, but because of them. To have the opportunity to tell his story is humbling. CNN is in the DNA of Tony’s work, and the perfect partners in this journey.”
Neville recently worked with Focus Features on the 2018 docu “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the much-praised look at the life of Fred Rogers, host of the PBS mainstay “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.” Neville will produced the Bourdain doc through his Tremolo Productions banner. Neville earned the feature documentary Oscar for 2013’s “Twenty Feet From Stardom,” a study of backup singers.
“Morgan is the top of the game when it comes to documentary filmmaking and we’re delighted to be working with him again on this project with our great collaborators at CNN Films and HBO Max,” said Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski.
Bourdain shocked his worldwide legion of fans in June 2018 when the news broke that he committed suicide at the age of 61 by hanging while visiting France. Bourdain first made a splash in 2000 with the publication of “Kitchen Confidential,” a memoir that helped fuel the rise of chefs and other culinary figures as boldface names in pop culture and in business.
Bourdain got his start in TV on Food Network, and then hosted the foodie travelogue series “No Reservations” for Travel Channel from 2005-2012. He moved to CNN in 2013 with “Parts Unknown,” which won six Emmys for best informational series.
“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. In Morgan Neville’s hands, we are sure to get a nuanced portrait of the complex, wildly creative man we knew,” Tenaglia said.