Director Morgan Neville discusses Road Runner, A Film about Anthony Bourdain

Director Morgan Neville discusses Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain

August 25, 2021 A Special Projects Documentary Series Screening

A portrait of the contradictory and charismatic food critic and storyteller is unveiled in Director Morgan Neville’s new documentary, Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

Neville’s film reveals how Bourdain went from chef at an obscure New York restaurant, to a career as a bestselling author, world traveler, Emmy-winning television writer and producer, and one of the most notorious and beloved figures in the food world and beyond.

Following the DGA Special Projects Documentary Series screening in Los Angeles on August 25, Neville sat down with DGA Special Projects Documentary Series Subcommittee Chair Ondi Timoner (Mapplethorpe) to discuss the making of Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain.

During the conversation, Neville spoke about his style of directing. “I’m kind of a method Director, meaning I absorb my subject as much as you can,” said Neville. “It’s music, film, everything. I just ask, ‘What is their ethos?’ And then I try to make a film that best represents that ethos... This film is interesting because I read [Anthony Bourdain’s] memos he would send on edits to his episodes. We quote a couple of them. I had a lot of thinking, insight, into what he thought about how things should be edited and what kind of storytelling he wanted to do. It’s pretty much break all the fucking rules, be punk rock. If you’re doing something that’s safe, you’ve failed. Push the boundaries. Creatively, push it as far as you can. So, in that way, I was like, ‘Okay Tony. You’re telling me to do this.’ It’s everything from the music to the editing to the deep fake.”

Neville’s other works include the documentary features Keith Richards: Under the Influence, The Music of Strangers, Best of Enemies: Buckley vs. Vidal, Sidney Poitier: The Defiant One, The Hustons: Hollywood’s Maverick Dynasty, Ray Charles: The Last Blues Man, Johnny Cash’s America, and Troubadours; and episodes of the television series Ugly Delicious, Abstract: The Art of Design, Biography, Independent Lens, Great Performances, and American Masters. He was nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for his 2018 film, Won’t You Be My Neighbor? His 2014 film, 20 Feet from Stardom, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Neville has been a DGA member since 2003.

You can listen to Neville's Q&A by clicking the podcast episode embedded below. You can find more DGA podcast episodes here.


Q&A photos by Shane Karns – Print courtesy of Focus Features.

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