In Lasse Hallström’s new movie ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’, Oscar-winning actress Helen Mirren plays a Michelin-starred French restaurateur who takes overcooked asparagus as a personal affront.
When an Indian family opens a restaurant just a hundred feet from hers, right across the street, a rivalry emerges. Mirren had to adopt a French accent for the role:
“The minute you talk in a French accent, it sounds ridiculous because we love to laugh at the French. I very much wanted to play my role in French but I was not allowed to do that. Yes, I was very self-conscious but luckily it was kind of a comedy anyway and the audience are allowed to laugh at Madame Mallory,” said the British actress.
Based on the best-seller of the same name, the movie is set in a quaint, picture postcard village in the south of France.
It’s a story about how the small distance between the two restaurants represents the gulf between two cultures. Over time, however, a relationship cooks up between the two owners.
US actor Manish Dayal said he learnt a lot while researching his role as a chef.
“I learned a lot of chef qualities when I was observing, in all of the kitchens that they put me in. And I think, for me, it was about deciding what not to adopt, which made it more interesting for me and my character. Because yes, there is an arrogance to chefs but it’s not to be confused with confidence and this sort of personality that’s sure of what they’re doing. They’re also like little geniuses so they have this sort of quiet quality to them,” he said.
Directed by Sweden’s Lasse Hallström, who brought us ‘Chocolat’ and ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’, the film was produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, and co-stars veteran Indian actor Om Puri and newcomer Charlotte Le Bon.
‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ is on worldwide release now.