Imagine going on a dreadful date only to discover your boyfriend is not who he seems and the restaurant and its head chef are seriously twisted.
This is the bread and butter of the new dark satire horror film The Menu starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult as a dysfunctional couple who find themselves in serious danger while dining at the rather theatrical Hawthorne restaurant.
Emmy-award nominee and The Queen's Gambit star Taylor-Joy plays Margot, who is initially both puzzled and disinterested in Chef Slowik’s (Ralph Fieness) food and the hype around the over the top presentation of his gourmet dishes.
Margot is an enigma who even puzzles Tyler, who is Slowik’s biggest fanboy. Margot's independence is what the 26-year-old actor loves the most about her character. "I love the fact that Margot is completely unapologetic about who she is, what she does, and how she lives her life," she tells Tyla. "She's walking into this highly elitist, exclusionary space that is designed to make her feel as if she's not worthy.
"And rather than feeling unworthy, she's like, calling BS on all of this and 'I want to go now like this is not my space' and I loved that about her.
"I have very rarely been able to play characters that are that comfortable in their own skin.”
Directed by Mark Mylod who is best known for his work on Succession, the film takes place on a remote island where Margot and Tyler devour intricate meals alongside tech bros, an older wealthy couple, a renowned restaurant critic and her slavish magazine editor plus a famous movie star and his assistant.
As the evening unfolds and the courses leave the kitchen, tensions rise as the guest's secrets are served like an appetiser.
Nicholas said: “On the surface level, this relationship seems fairly normal and then there's just little hints occasionally or little drops of the veil, where you reveal what's actually happening and it kind of gets unpicked throughout the film.”
Preparation for film set almost entirely in a restaurant with seated guests eating dishes involved lots of eating and watching Chef's Table on Netflix for both Anya and Nicholas.
"I think we became more of a foodie through the process of doing this, but I know that we both watched a lot of Chef's Table. In research, we sat on the sofa and watched Chef's Table," Nicholas recalled excitedly.
"It was hard work!" Anya added.
The pair were also left 'fan-girling' when they met Dominique Crenn from their favourite Netflix series, who helped design the film's menu and create the 'kitchen atmosphere'.
"Watching the chefs on there gave me a real appreciation of what they go through, their commitment," the 32-year-old shared. "I was kind of a little bit starstruck.”
Although the stories behind Slowik's food are terrifying, they do look quite tasty. Thankfully, both actors had a chance to try the food themselves, with the Warm Bodies actor gobbling most of it.
"We had a really long dinner essentially for eight weeks, us sitting across this table, getting to know each other which was great," Nick recalled about their chemistry.
“I genuinely have to say the commitment that this man has to finishing the plates with gusto as if it's the first time when it's like take 17," Anya quipped. "It doesn't sound like hard work, but it really really is and Nick attacked it splendidly.”
The Menu is out in cinemas on Friday, 18 November.
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