On April 26, 2014 the Tribeca Film Festival and Heineken announced that "Chef," written and directed by Jon Favreau, was chosen to receive the Narrative award. The film which hits theaters on May 9, 2014, tells the story of a professional chef who decides to buy food truck and take his family on the road with him. We spoke with the cast about the film at the Tribeca Film Festival. Read our exclusive interviews below:
What sort of research did you do to prepare?
Jon Favreau: As an actor I had to train for this, so I went to culinary school, I worked with chef Roy Choi in his restaurants and that really helped me not just an actor but also a director to understand the food world.
What did you learn about the food world that surprised you?
Jon Favreau: How passionate the people are, how seriously they take their craft, how meticulous they are, they take a lot of pride in the work that they do, and as much as much as they have passion, and a vision for what they're cooking, their real pleasure comes from satisfying people they have never met when they serve the food to them.
Is there a food fad you're obsessed with?
Jon Favreau: I like the rise of the celebrity chef, I think it's really interesting that these people who used to be faceless in the back of the house are now stars and project their personality through their cuisine and they bring a lot of attention to the field of cooking and has made it something that my kids look up to. I think it's cool for kids to learn more about food. I like Roy Choi the best.
Speak about what inspired the script?
Jon Favreau: I wanted to write something about a chef character for a while, and I also wanted to talk about fatherhood and somebody who is at my stage of life. I'm in my 40's and I'm balancing a career and family, it all hit me and I wrote it very quickly and when I saw what I wrote, I decided it was going to be my next project. I pushed aside all other things I was considering and took the time out to make a small movie like this. I'm very happy I did.
Did you almost lose any fingers?
Jon Favreau: I'm pretty good with a knife, I was careful. They teach you very early on how to curl with your fingers so you don't cut yourself, as long as you pay attention, you can avoid getting hurt in the kitchen.
Would you say you're a good chef now?
Jon Favreau: I wouldn't say I'm a chef, but I'm a good cook now. I can work in somebody else's kitchen no problem and not get in the way too much, I could do more good than harm. I can cook a couple good dishes at home and I'm learning every day. I'm continuing to learn.
What's your specialty?
Jon Favreau: I learned how to cook everything I cooked in the movie, I've done it over and over again for people. When we were doing a sound mix at Skywalker, at night you have to cook your own dinner, and they have a big commercial kitchen, and every night the crew would get together and we would recreate all the dishes from the movie so I got pretty good with it.
Can you speak about working with Sofia Vergara?
Jon Favreau: Sofia is the best! She's funny and smart and very talented.
John Leguizamo plays Jon Favreau's best friend.
What attracted you to the film?
John Leguizamo: Jon Favreau, because he's one of the great directors and actors, this is his best work I've seen on film, so I loved it.
Tell me a little bit about your character, who is he?
John Leguizamo: I'm a line cook who is really loyal to Jon, and I treat him like he's my dad. I'm very protective of him, I move up and I get better and better because he knows he can count on me. I'm there for big moral support.
Tell me about working with with this great cast.
John Leguizamo: We had fun, we had a lot of great times, going to the fanciest restaurants, in Austin, Miami, dancing salsa, going to blues and jazz clubs together, it was like a family.
Any upcoming projects?
John Leguizamo: "Ghetto Clown" is becoming a graphic novel, so I'm pretty proud of that. Shooting right now "American Ultra" and "The Man on Carrion Road."
Oliver Platt also stars in the film.
Is there a food fad you're obsessed with right now? Are you a Cronut man?
Oliver Platt: Believe it or not ... I am so scared to have a cronut because I think that it will be the end of it for me. You'll have to bury me and glaze me and start digging the hole.
Please tell me about your experience in the movie?
Oliver Platt: Jon is such a sensational, natural collaborator and he gets you invested in the process in a proprietary way ... you're having so much fun you forget you're working, which is the best possible scenario. Ninety percent of it is the environment that is created on the set because film making is a fluid dynamic experience and somebody that understands that and creates a playful environment has a lot of wisdom there.
Adorable young actor Emjay Anthony also spoke about working on the film. He plays Sofía Vergara and Jon Favreau's son.
How did you get involved with this film?
Coast To Coast called me in and it was just like any other audition, Sarah Finn actually liked me and sent me to Jon, and Jon liked me so I got it.
Tell me a little bit about your character.
Percy is a social media wiz and he wants to spend time with his dad, and his dad doesn't really spend time with him at all. Then he gets on the food truck and they spend a lot of time together.
Tell me about working with Jon.
He's a really great director and actor, and he actually taught me how to cry.
What's the secret?
You just have to think of something very very sad.
How about working with Sofia?
Oh my god, she is just drop dead gorgeous.
What was it like having her play your mom?
Amazing. She actually got to hug me and kiss me on set in the scene. I actually proposed to her.
How did you know you wanted to be in acting?
There was a open call audition for "It's Complicated" and I got it and it was really fun so I just kept on going.
What's next for you?
"Incarnate" is coming out.