Drama - Development 2015

The Englishman who popularized “extreme meats” in Europe (through his cookbooks) does battle with his daughter, a University student and radical vegan activist whose mission in life is to destroy her father’s culinary influence in favor of a “plant-based diet and vegan world order.”

    • Year of production
    • 2015
    • Genres
    • Drama, Comedy
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 5 - 10 M$
    • Director(s)
    • John HUDDLES
    • Writer(s)
    • John HUDDLES
    • Producer(s)
    • Alexandra HOESDORFF (deal productions)
    • Synopsis
    • Alexander Tate is one of Europe’s most famous chefs and author of the best-selling cookbook from the 1990’s, Recipes For Carnivores. A longtime expat living in his wife’s native Luxembourg City, he’s the man who taught foodies how to cook exotic meats: buffalo, ostrich, reindeer, yak, peacock, bison, and camel. But he’s at a low point in his career: he’s had writer’s block for years his publishing house has just dropped him, and he’s about to fall behind on the mortgage payments for his beloved house in Luxembourg’s upscale Belair neighborhood.
      Meanwhile, his daughter, Zinnia, (a Luxembourg University student) is just coming into her own: as a radical vegan. Zinnia rejects her father’s exotic-meat cookbooks as degenerate: a harbinger of revolution, the final signs of oncoming nutritional apocalypse. Gathering her comrades from university behind her, Zinnia leads fierce PETA protests (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). She and her father are sworn enemies on the battlefield of cuisine. (But Zinnia has a secret eating disorder. We find her wolfing down pastries in the shower, we spot her filling her portable mineral-water bottle with sugary sodas … )
      Alexander’s arguments with his daughter over their opposing food-philosophies explode into shocking on-screen hostilities: at a cookbook-signing event Zinnia ambushes her father with grenades of animal guts and buckets of fake cow’s blood … at a family dinner Alexander “poisons” Zinnia’s supposedly vegan foods with secret meats … in a packed classroom at the University of Luxembourg Alexander storms in before several hundred witnesses to retaliate against his daughter’s sabotage of his kitchen. These are extreme personalities driven to extreme deeds. But though their love for one another is shaded and shrouded and obscured, it proves the real thing in the end. Alexander (a widower) insists he would die to save his children if ever he had to, no matter how much they torture him in life. He proves his commitment over and over: when Zinnia is arrested, Alexander bails her out; when Zinnia is suicidally depressed, Alexander pulls her back into the world of the living; when Zinnia needs her father’s help to save a Christmas Day vegan rally from failure, Alexander sacrifices his own Christmas dinner (and his entire culinary beliefsystem) to protect his daughter’s reputation.
      Alexander has a son as well, a young man with no emotional problems whose life his father nearly destroys by trying to fix what isn’t broken in it. Lucas is a popular television chef—and what Alexander wants most is to land the newly created job of co-host on his son’s show. But he’s forced to compete for the position against Greer de Grey, an anorectic English beauty in her twenties: sharp-tongued, cold-hearted, glamorous, selfish, thrilling to look at and listen to, a TV-star in-the-making. (Greer’s dirty little secret: she doesn’t like to eat and can’t cook at all.)
      Matters grow more Byzantine when Alexander agrees to teach Greer how to cook in time to co-host the first show of the season. Alexander soon comes to loathe this glamorous fraud; yet when he suspects that Lucas may be falling in love with her (despite the fact that Lucas has had a serious boyfriend for several years), Alexander conspires to help the budding romance along. Lucas’s boyfriend, Benji, has been Alexander’s favorite friend of the family for some time, but now he decides it’s time to stab Benji in the back. In short, Alexander would rather have a daughter-in-law he despises (Greer) than no daughter-inlaw at all, meaning Benji is going to have to be taken out of the equation. Or so Alexander thinks …
      Alexander manages to push his children to the brink before reeling them back in and lifting them up to higher places than they could have reached on their own. Then, finally, Alexander needs help himself, when his psychiatrist and love interest (Dr. Otilia Forrette, originally Zinnia’s therapist at university) advises that writing a vegan cookbook might resuscitate Alexander’s moribund career by connecting him to a new, younger audience, thereby restoring his lost self-confidence, reviving his fortunes, and keeping him from losing his house.
      Now the question becomes: will Zinnia help her father? (Alexander knows nothing about vegan cooking, but it turns out that Zinnia has been hiding one last secret: not only is she an expert vegan, she’s also an expert cook, having grown up in her father’s kitchen and soaked up his brilliant technique).
      After everything he’s done to them, will Alexander’s children choose to save their father or cut him loose to meet his fate on his own? Will Zinnia be willing and able to co-write a vegan cookbook with Alexander? Will Lucas be able to forgive his father for running the love of his life out of town and nearly shattering his happiness? Allies become enemies and enemies allies in this story of a family destined either for personal greatness or self-annihilation. They’re an extreme sport. We’re spectators who recognize in their fanatical doings the same pathological connections that, on a smaller scale, power our own parents, our own personalities, and the ways we alternately nourish and starve ourselves of human affection.
    • Production schedule
    • Production scheduled for Spring 2014