At the Movies

Bill Buford Thinks Philip Seymour Hoffman Is ‘the Only Guy’ to Play Mario Batali

We can see the resemblance.
We can see the resemblance. Photo: Neilson Barnard/Getty Images, Patrick McMullan

Eater’s speculation earlier this week that Bill Buford’s Mario Batali hagiography Heat was getting the Hollywood treatment wasn’t entirely surprising — the book, after all, has all the elements of a good movie, what with all the blood and swearing, and the emotional arc in which one finds one’s inner self through soulful reconnection with the forgotten arts of our forebears. It was a hipster butchering memoir before “hipster butchering memoir” became a thing. Buford wouldn’t confirm the project for us, but he did have some casting ideas: “I have long thought that there is no actor alive who could play Mario,” he told Grub Street. “Actually, Mario has said the same. He’s more Hollywood than Hollywood. He is bigger, more flamboyant, more theatrical, more outright fun than anyone else out there, EXCEPT Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s the only guy.”

Assuming this Heat movie is a go, Batali — or his likeness — is facing a whole lot of upcoming screen presence. The San Jose Mercury News recently dropped the news that the orange one is getting set to launch not one but two new cooking shows, one set in Sicily and the other in Brooklyn. The operating phrase here for us is “cooking shows” — since the late, great Molto Mario, Batali’s television presence has been limited to competitor (on Iron Chef America) and tour guide (Spain … On the Road Again). Seeing him back behind the stove on the small screen would be on par, excitement-wise, with seeing PSH don orange Crocs on the big one.

Casting Bill Buford’s Heat, the Movie [Eater National]
Mario Batali’s new cookbook and new approach to food [San Jose Mercury News via Eater NY]

Bill Buford Thinks Philip Seymour Hoffman Is ‘the Only Guy’ to Play