Stephen Graham says one-take restaurant film offers ‘peek behind the curtain’

·3-min read

Stephen Graham has said he hopes his new film shot in one take and set in a restaurant kitchen will offer “a peek behind the curtain” of the hospitality industry.

The This Is England star plays a head chef pushed to his limits in Boiling Point, which was shot just days before the first national lockdown last year.

The film is set on the last Friday before Christmas, the busiest night of the year, and Graham’s central character is already battling debts, addiction and an imploding personal life when health and safety services unexpectedly show up for an inspection.

Arriving at the film’s premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, Graham told the PA news agency: “It’s kind of like getting to peek behind the curtain and have a little look and see what’s out there.

“There’s so many great characters within every kitchen environment, and hopefully we made a fair representation of the diversity of what it’s like in a kitchen, there’s all different ethnicities, different cultural backgrounds, different classes, age, it’s a great amalgamation of loads of different characters and there’s drama going on that as well.”

Graham’s wife Hannah Walters, who also appears in the film, said: “As a customer, unless it is an open kitchen you don’t get to see anything that’s going on.

“So it’s like seeing the theatre but not seeing what happens backstage and it all happens backstage, that’s where everything is created.

“And then it’s sent out to the front and it’s the same in a kitchen so to be able to see what happens backstage is really interesting for an audience.”

Boiling Point UK premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2021
Stephen Graham and Hannah Walters (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Graham admitted famous chefs such as Gordon Ramsay were in the back of his mind when playing the role but he did not try to emulate the TV star.

He said: “I didn’t make a purposeful decision to do that.

“Obviously in the back of your mind you’ve got those programmes like Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, where he goes somewhere, but we didn’t really want to do that kind of man, but I think it’s influenced hopefully from all those kind of chefs.”

Graham’s co-star Ray Panthaki said filming the whole movie in one take added an extra level of pressure to the shoot.

“Stephen takes the whole weight of the movie on his shoulders. And he was completely on it the whole way through.

Boiling Point UK premiere – BFI London Film Festival 2021
Ray Panthaki (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“There would be moments where the camera would be off me and I’d be like looking through my pieces of paper going ‘Where am I next? Where am I next? What’s my next move? Where am I going?’ and Stephen would be like, ‘Ray, you’re over there’.

“He’s got this amazing awareness of everything that was going on.”

Boiling Point will be released in UK cinemas on December 3.

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