Chef is a culinary caper written, produced, directed by and starring Jon Favreau as the film’s leading man Carl Casper.
Casper works as a celebrity chef at esteemed Los Angeles restaurant Gauloise. When his integrity and creative flair are jeopardized by the restaurant’s domineering owner and a video of him royally losing his temper goes viral, he becomes not only unemployed, but virtually unemployable. In an attempt to slink away from the spotlight until his 15 minutes of shame blow over, Casper escapes to Miami to rekindle his passion for cooking and finds himself opening a food truck specializing in perfectly-golden Cuban sandwiches.
In Chef, social media is not simply a device used to tell the story, it is the story. It’s what drives the film’s protagonist to the edge, and thanks to the help of his tech-savvy son, it’s what helps bring him back. By virtue of that, smartphones are everywhere in the film. They’re used to text, to fire shots in Twitter wars and to film video for an emotive father-son food truck road-trip montage which we experience via Casper’s own handheld device at the film’s end.
Apps like Facebook, Twitter, Vine, and 1 Second Everyday needed to be integrated in a unique and innovative way, that matched the charming and sharp tone of the film itself.
Integrating and Innovating
Favreau reached out to Shade to discuss the film after seeing our work in Behind The Candelabra. While there are some invisible effects and head replacement work utilized in both, the mandate for Chef was to use social media as a device to push the story but in an integrated fashion that kept the viewer in the moment. The graphics were not to act as subtitles to the film’s dialogue, but rather to make the whole film a more visually stimulating affair. Just like in the kitchen, Favreau took a hands-on approach and we were able to work together from start to finish on the project and develop an excellent creative dialogue.
Together we built on established methods to incorporate graphics and cultivated an innovative way to integrate social media platforms. Take a look at how it all came together for Chef.