Did Asia Argento upend 'Parts Unknown'? Anthony Bourdain docu reveals shocking last days
A new documentary film, ‘Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain’, reportedly claims that the decision to bring in Italian actress Asia Argento to direct an episode of her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain's ‘Parts Unknown’ series “upended” the final season. The film features dozens of Bourdain's close friends, who speak about his life, and his 2018 suicide.
Bourdain died by suicide on June 8, 2018, at the age of 61 at a hotel in France back in 2018. Argento, who was dating Bourdain at the time of his death, was not interviewed for the documentary as the film is not about her. Morgan Neville, the director of the film, told the Wall Street Journal, “... his relationship with Asia, I felt like I didn’t want to get one inch deeper into that story because it was quicksand. You can make a whole film just about that and that was not the film I wanted to make. It gets really complicated and in a way that to me is not ultimately enlightening.”
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He further said, “What I included was a fraction of what was there. So if people think there’s a lot, let me tell you, there is very little compared to what’s there. I feel like I showed tremendous restraint, even though people may not know that. And I think I was very fair with having seen all the facts. I’m very comfortable with what I did.”
Asked about what legal steps he had taken in the event Argento or others objected to their depictions in the film, Neville said, "We had our lawyers and the CNN lawyers vet it. (CNN Films is an executive producer.) We hired a special Italian counsel to vet it based on the Italian law, and we went through it with a fine-tooth comb. I went out of my way to make sure I put the quote in from (TV director) Michael Steed saying, ‘Tony killed Tony, you know, 60-year-old men don’t normally kill themselves because they broke up with somebody’.”
He also said, “I’m not saying she caused his suicide. Suicide is a private and I think selfish act. I was merely trying to paint a picture, I think accurately, of the different factors in his life that were going on, and there were many of them. The impression of him really over the last year was him just being much more manic and much more depressive.”
In September 2018, the Italian actress revealed that Bourdain "cheated on me, too," detailing their "grown-up" relationship, adding, "It wasn't a problem for us. He was a man who traveled 265 days a year. When we saw each other we took really great pleasure in each other's company. But we are not children. We are grown-ups."
Addressing his death, she said, “People say I murdered him. They say I killed him. ... I understand that the world needs to find a reason. I would like to find a reason, too. I don't have it. What I do feel terrible about is that he had so much pain inside of him and he didn't share it. I did not see it. And for that I will feel guilty for the rest of my life."
As per the documentary, Bourdain and the crew of ‘Parts Unknown’ were heading to Hong Kong to shoot when the director got sick and the celebrity chef brought in Argento to direct the episode. That episode, as well as two others featuring the Italian actress, was eventually pulled by CNN after Argento was publicly accused of sexual assault. Argento, the New York Times reported in 2018, a face of the #MeToo movement, quietly arranged to pay $380,000 to her own accuser, Jimmy Bennett. The young actor and rock musician had alleged that she had sexually assaulted him in a California hotel room years earlier, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday. She was 37. The age of consent in California is 18.
Bourdain also fired his longtime award-winning cinematographer Zach Zamboni after he clashed with Argento. “When Tony fired Zach, it was a huge red flag,” producer Helen Cho says in the film. “Because if he's going to do that to someone like him, anyone in the inner circle is essentially disposable.” The film also shows Argento call “cut” as Bourdain was interviewing a pair of asylum-seekers over a late-night meal. They reset and shot the scene again. “He would have never, ever done that,” Cho recalled in the film.