Remembering a coworker and a friend. Parts Unknown director, Morgan Fallon, revealed some things few people knew about the late Anthony Bourdain ahead of the show’s season 12 premiere.
“I think it would be surprising to know that Tony was actually much more shy and had a much harder time in big crowds and [being] exposed than people might think,” Fallon told Us Weekly exclusively on Sunday, September 23, at the Tribeca TV festival presented by AT&T. “And he definitely had a hard time with celebrity.”
He continued: “I don’t think he enjoyed being a celebrity per se. I think he enjoyed being able to tell the stories he told in the way he did, but there was no part of him that was invested in building his celebrity or building his brand or building who he was in that public kind of eye. He was just a genuine person who genuinely wanted to tell stories.”
The Emmy award-winning director also spoke about the struggle he has trying to put the legacy of Bourdain — who died by suicide at the age of 61 in June — and the CNN series into words.
“I keep trying to answer this question and it’s a hard one. I would hope that the legacy that’s been left is that we don’t have to be fearful of going out and really exploring the world,” Fallon explained to Us. “I think a lot of places have been kind of painted in popular interpretations as being dangerous or places that you might not want to travel. I would, within reason, encourage people to go with an open heart and open mind to those places and not be fearful. Most of what you will find in the world is embracing.”
Fallon detailed that despite there being “a lot of great storytellers” what set Bourdain apart from others was “his complete emotional openness.”
“I think he really was willing to share all of his vulnerabilities, all of what made him human and really throw himself wholeheartedly into the experience. He was willing to be surprised; he was willing to not be the expert all the time,” he added. “He was willing to tell us with the camera, to turn them outward, away from him and towards the world, and I think that that separates him from a lot of other kinds of shows.”
The season 12 premiere documented Bourdain’s journey to Kenya. During the episode, the New York native spoke to comedian W. Kamau Bell about how lucky he was and opened up about his humble beginnings.
“I f–king pinch myself because I cannot f–king believe that I get to do this or see this … or that I ever would,” the chef and author revealed during the episode. “Because at 44 years old, dunking fries, I knew with absolute certainty that I would never, ever see Rome, much less this.”
The final season of Parts Unknown is set to air on CNN each Sunday night through mid-November at 9 p.m. EST.
If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
With reporting by Marc Lupo