Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper who starred in highly acclaimed and hit films including “American Sniper,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Guardians of the Galaxy” (voiced Rocket Raccoon) and “American Hustle” stars anew in “Burnt” set in the world of professional kitchens with co-stars Sienna Miller, Omar Sy, Emma Thompson, Lily James and Sarah Greene.
In “Burnt,” Cooper’s character Adam Jones, is a known and respected chef but his success got the better of him. Jones is someone who has had success in the past, followed by tremendous failure. He disappears, and then comes back, determined to recapture that success. He discovers that he can only do it with the help of other people, something that his narcissism and ego hadn’t bargained for.
John Wells is one of the most prolific writers, directors and producers in television, film and for the stage brings a new a take on the ever growing foodie culture in “Burnt.” Director John Wells was attracted to Steven Knight‘s screenplay for “Burnt” because it was a special look into the unique world restaurateurs. “I read the script and admired it. I’m always attracted to good writing and I was very taken with the character of Adam Jones. He’s a man who has had success in the past, followed by tremendous failure. He disappears, and then comes back, determined to recapture that success. He discovers that he can only do it with the help of other people, something that his narcissism and ego hadn’t bargained for. Steven Knight has written a wonderful story of a man coming to grips with being an adult and what is required to succeed in life, not just in his profession.”
As creator, writer and producer of such seminal US TV series as ER and “The West Wing,” Wells insisted on accurately portraying the world in which the drama is set. Wells acknowledges that, currently, London is the world capital of fine dining. “London is where young chefs go to succeed, so it made sense that Adam goes to the place he can make the biggest impact to stage his comeback.” he says. “Being able to shoot in top restaurants and kitchens, like Michel Roux’s restaurant at the Langham Hotel and the Delaunay, a recent Corbijn King restaurant, was a bonus, adding to the authenticity on screen.”
Wells admits that before starting doing his research around kitchens, he hadn’t thought about the perils involved. “When you look around one of those kitchens, the arms of young chefs can be covered in cuts and burns. It’s a very physical world and reminded me more of iron workers than what I had in mind, which was a tableau of chefs wandering around in whites and long white hats. In fact, we had a number of people injured in minor, but very painful ways.”
The involvement of renowned celebrity chefs was essential for the director and writer to place an audience in the middle of the action. “I couldn’t have done it without chefs of that calibre, because I don’t know what they do,” says Wells. “I came into this project thinking I can cook, but quickly realized I don’t.”
Before shooting, Wells took the professional chefs through technical rehearsals, telling everyone what would be happening in the action of the scene, and what would be happening within the service at each moment of filming. He says, “It meant that when we shot with the cast, the food was prepared to the correct stage, and each of 40 or 50 pans on hot stoves would be in the right part of the process. The heat was high every day, around 40 degrees and the sweat, the cuts and the burns you see are real, so the audience should feel they’ve been dropped into a real kitchen.”
“Burnt” opens November 4 in cinemas nationwide from Pioneer Films.