CNN has announced it will produce a feature-length documentary about the life and travels of Anthony Bourdain. Unlike Bourdain’s series, Parts Unknown, which airs on television, the documentary will premiere first at festivals in early 2019 and then roll out to cinemas later in the year. After a theatrical screening, it will air on CNN. “We just want to make it perfect,” Amy Entelis, CNN’s executive vice president for talent and content, told Vanity Fair. “We want to make it exquisite for Tony. We want to do him justice.”
The documentary will give viewers a deeper glimpse into the man’s life off-camera. Although Bourdain wrote about his pre-TV career in his books, including the best-seller Kitchen Confidential, “there was still a hunger to know more about him, and to honor his work and celebrate him,” Entelis told Vanity Fair. Zero Point Zero, Bourdain’s production company, and the Bourdain estate will contribute to “the definitive Bourdain feature documentary,” according to CNN. The film has already begun pre-production, although it is still unnamed.
CNN Films has also produced films like Blackfish, Glenn Campbell, and the recent Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary RBG. This fall, CNN will air episodes of the season Bourdain was in the middle of filming when he committed suicide in June. The final season of Parts Unknown will contain eight episodes, including two made in homage to Bourdain and the series. In fall 2019, Ecco Books will publish Bourdain: The Oral Biography. It is set to be edited by Laurie Woolever, Bourdain’s assistant and longtime collaborator.