Dinner and a Movie: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans and Emma Thompson party in Pirate Radio.
Last week we were invited to a roundtable interview with the writer/director Richard Curtis and Tom Sturridge, the young star of the new movie Pirate Radio. Around the press table film journalists talked shop before the talent entered the room. We listened politely as they chatted about how over vampire movies they are, who had seen The Talented Mr. Fox yet, and what the catering spread looked like for lunch. At this, our ears perked up: now they were speaking our language.
“Which outlet are you from?” the reporter next to us asked. When we told him we were on assignment with Edible Manhattan he let out a roar of laughter, the others around the table broke into smiles. “But this movie has absolutely nothing to do with food!” he quipped. We didn’t argue with him—aside from the lone lesbian and cook on the rogue pirate ship of male radio DJs, and one charming scene in which young Carl (Sturridge’s character) suffers a painful heartbreak which could only be cured with tea and biscuits offered by fellow shipmates—it’s really a film about friendship, not seafood. Our title quickly won us cred with the rest of the press corps, however. Not only did they unanimously compliment our mag, they offered tips: one reporter asked if we were going to the Beard house that night, another from a national Irish publication asked if we had seen the Guinness cupcake and Baileys icing recipe on his magazine’s website.
In each issue of Edible Manhattan we feature a prominent New Yorker for our column “In the Kitchen With.” We try, in fact, to interview a celebrity who isn’t necessarily a foodie. We’re interested in the three-week-old box of pizza in the back of the fridge, the dusty heirloom soup terrine that sits atop the counter (unused), or the subject’s snack of choice when late night deadlines keep him up with work. Each of these details tells a story, peels back the outer shell of personalities we know best from the silver screen, the radio, or our favorite books. Richard Curtis said that when he envisioned the ship on which Pirate Radio takes place, he wanted to recreate the feeling of a crash pad one inhabits in his early ’20s with beer bottles everywhere, terrible food, and plenty of late night conversations amongst best friends.
“I always fantasize about that age of twenty to thirty when you live in a grotty apartment with very bad food, and the music is always on.” It’s a time in his life he feels nostalgic for, since his work has often lead him away from friendships over the years.
When young Carl is first welcomed aboard he’s met with slaps on the back and toast with marmite. When a boatload of women motor over for a 24-hour love fest, one DJ looks out at the approaching mother load and exclaims “Oh my god, it’s like a boat of honey!” But what does one really eat while filming at sea with a bunch of mates? Nick Frost, who plays a burly DJ named Dave, was out on the decks fishing for mackerel. When the crew wasn’t eating fresh catch cooked up on the barbecue, they were listening to Curtis’ favorite tunes from the 1960s and drinking. “He creates an atmosphere of family—with love and safety,” said Sturridge of acting aboard Curtis’ ship. However his favorite person on board was the real cook, a guy named Mikey from New Zealand. “He made the most amazing toasted sandwiches with every kind of meat piled up, topped with cheese and chilies.” In the end you can’t eat records: the stomach is the way to a man’s heart.