CNN Films, HBO Max and Focus Features are partnering for a film about the life of the late chef, author and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain.
The film will be directed by Academy Award-winning Morgan Neville, whose work includes Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Best of Enemies, 20 Feet from Stardom and The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.
“Anthony Bourdain did more to help us understand each other than just about anyone in the history of television. He connected with people not in spite of his flaws, but because of them,” Neville said in a statement. “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.”
NBCUniversal-owned distributor Focus Features will release the documentary exclusively in theaters worldwide before it premieres on CNN and WarnerMedia-owned streamer HBO Max, which is slated to debut in spring 2020.
CNN Films and HBO Max will executive produce the film. Neville’s Tremolo Productions serves as producer.
Longtime Bourdain collaborators Lydia Tenaglia and Christopher Collins, founders of Zero Point Zero Productions, will serve as consulting producers on the film. Kimberly Witherspoon, Bourdain’s longtime agent and literary executor, will also serve as a consulting producer. The Bourdain estate will provide access to family photos, home movies, letters, music, and other content that will add greater insights into his work and life.
The deal was negotiated by Stacey Wolf, SVP of business affairs for CNN Worldwide, and Stephanie Schroeder, SVP of business affairs for direct-to-consumer content at WarnerMedia, on behalf of CNN Films and HBO Max, respectively, with Carol Smithson, VP of business and legal affairs for Focus Features.
“It requires a filmmaker as expert and prolific as Morgan Neville to capture the essence of a raconteur and world explorer like Anthony Bourdain,” added Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max. “We are honored to partner with CNN Films and Focus Features on this project that is so close to all of our hearts and give viewers the opportunity to celebrate his legacy.”