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Anthony Bourdain Doc Under Fire For Using AI To Recreate Talking Pastrami Sandwich

LOS ANGELES—With critics deriding the move as an unethical use of technology, the documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain was lambasted Tuesday for using A.I. to recreate a talking pastrami sandwich. “I kept asking myself throughout the film, ‘How did they get these intimate conversations between Bourdain and a chipper sentient pastrami on rye?’ but it turns out it was just digital trickery,” said viewer and Bourdain enthusiast Page Malman, telling reporters that she couldn’t help but feel betrayed that the filmmakers had used deceptive tactics to create fill-in audio of the sandwich describing its perfectly smoked, mouth-watering flavor. “It’s unsettling because you can’t always tell what is real and what’s not—how much of the pastrami singing about the ways a hearty lunch can chase the blues away was actually real and how much was just cobbled together by a computer? This is a sandwich that got eaten years ago, and here they are throwing it up onto the screen and making it say things it never did during its lifetime. It just seems wrong.” At press time, filmmakers had claimed that the scene in which the pastrami performs a rap about the history of deli meat was integral to the documentary’s narrative and had been cleared beforehand with the sandwich’s estate.

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