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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Stuart Heritage

Monster munch: how Bones and All’s cannibal chow was tastier than you might think

Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet in Bones and All.
‘Luca said that we were eating corn syrup’ … Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet in Bones and All. Photograph: Yannis Drakoulidis/AP

There is a lot to unpack when it comes to Luca Guadagnino’s new film, Bones and All. There is the obvious fact that this is the first film to reunite Guadagnino with Timothée Chalamet since Call Me By Your Name five years ago. And then there’s the fact that Bones and All is about cannibalism, and it comes relatively soon after Chalamet’s Call Me By Your Name co-star Armie Hammer was cancelled by Hollywood over accusations of, literally, being a cannibal. (Which he has denied.)

Which all sounds like quite a bit to process, so let’s concentrate on something tastier. Chalamet’s co-star Taylor Russell has said we shouldn’t be scared in scenes where they both gnaw their way through mounds of human viscera as it was all delicious treats.

Russell told Slashfilm that although “Luca said that we were eating corn syrup”, she didn’t buy it. The film’s effects team informed her that the guts and flesh were “maraschino cherries, dark chocolate, and Fruit Roll-Ups”, adding that “If that sounds good to you, cool. If it doesn’t, fair enough. But it was very sweet and [tastier] than anything else maybe you could imagine”.

Of course, that sounds delicious. Russell and Chalamet spent the entire shooting schedule chowing down on black forest gateau – albeit black forest gateau that had been explicitly created to mimic internal organs.

This revelation does, however, run the risk of taking audiences out of the moment. While reviewers have praised Bones and All for the delicate manner in which it tells its story of tragic, harrowing romance, that might no longer be the case now that everyone knows they’re munching away on desserts.

Of course, Bones and All isn’t the first film to use something delicious to create something disgusting. Famously, when Tim Robbins had to snake his way through a sewer in The Shawshank Redemption, human effluent was swapped out for chocolate syrup. But don’t get too excited – it was mixed with sawdust for texture.

Similarly, when the android Ash was smashed apart by his crewmates in Alien, the unknown textures and fluids leaking out of his body were made up of pasta, caviar, onion rings and milk. Ridley Scott also threw some marbles in there for fun, despite them being fairly significant choking hazards.

My favourite secret food hack in movies, though, is one of the most commonplace. You know in films when a baby has just been born, and the baby is still covered in all the childbirth-related slime and gore? Turns out it’s quite often a mixture of cream cheese and jam, spread all over the baby just prior to filming. This is a very strictly regulated process, with several flavours of jam banned thanks to allergy concerns, but delicious nonetheless.

Given the choice between that and ripping apart a load of cherries and chocolate disguised as human intestines, it would be a close competition. Maybe we’ll see it put to the test in Chalamet’s upcoming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel – especially if they keep that scene where Willy Wonka forces a bunch of children to crawl through a tunnel of newborn babies.

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