Director Morgan Neville’s film is notable for its lack of testimony from Bourdain’s girlfriend.
A notable character absent from Morgan NevilleNew documentary about the life and career of Anthony Bourdain, “Roadrunner, is Asia Argento. She was the host of the show “Unknown Parts”, the beloved chef, author, and girlfriend of the doc at the time of his suicide in 2018.
Shortly after her death, Argento came under scrutiny as a villain in Bourdain’s life, as the #MeToo activist became embroiled in a sexual assault scandal of her own. While the film heads towards this chapter towards the end of Bourdain’s life, Neville doesn’t interview Argento about the film at all, instead speaking to people close to her late boyfriend.
Like Neville explanation for Vulture, “She gave an interview. I know what she will say. And even as I was putting the story together, when I was trying to make a decision about how to handle it, when I started putting more of that story into the movie, it immediately made people want to ask more questions. ten questions. It became kind of quicksand that reports like ‘Oh, but then what? And how did this happen? ‘”
He added, “It just became this to make me feel like I’m sinking into this rabbit hole of she said, they said, and that’s not the movie I wanted to make. I just wanted to know why he was who he was and felt like the scales of the movie would tilt if I put her in it.”
Meanwhile, when asked by The Hollywood Reporter Why Neville chose not to tell the Argento side of the story, he said, “We looked at every aspect of the Asian story but found that the more we opened the door to it, the more complex it was. the deeper the complexity and the less insightful the film.”
“Roadrunner” was praised by the media (IndieWire included) but was met with some backlash on social media for the fact that Neville using artificial intelligence to reproduce Bourdain’s voice for key moments of the narration. “I checked, you know, with his widow and his literary executor, just to make sure people were cool with that. And they were like, Tony would be cool with that. I don’t put words in his mouth. I’m just trying to bring them to life,” Neville said.