May 25, 2016 / 10:32 PM / 3 years ago

Schwimmer navigates choppy world of restaurants in 'Feed the Beast'

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Food is at the heart of AMC’s drama “Feed The Beast,” where family, fatherhood, friendship and fate converge at a fledgling restaurant in yet another new role for David Schwimmer in his life post “Friends.”

Cast member David Schwimmer participates in panel in a panel for the FX Networks "The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" during the Television Critics Association (TCA) Cable Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, California January 16, 2016. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

“Feed the Beast,” premiering on June 5 on cable network AMC, follows two friends, Tommy (Schwimmer) and Dion (Jim Sturgess), both at respective low points in their lives.

Wine sommelier Tommy is broken after the sudden death of his wife and mother to his young son and numbs his pain with alcohol, while Dion, a cocaine-addicted chef, has been released from a prison for burning down a restaurant, only to find the local mob after him.

The two attempt to reverse their respective fortunes by opening a restaurant together, named after Tommy’s late wife, in New York’s Bronx neighborhood.

“The food represents life, like a life force, and the whole premise of the show, at least the first season, is pulling Tommy out of this stagnant lifeless state he’s in,” Schwimmer told Reuters.

To most people, Schwimmer is best known as Ross Geller from NBC’s hit sitcom “Friends,” but the 49-year-old actor has also turned director for films such as “Run Fatboy Run” and most recently has been earning Emmy buzz for his portrayal as lawyer Robert Kardashian in FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

For “Feed the Beast,” Schwimmer said he watched documentaries such as 2012’s “Somm” and drew on master sommeliers such as New York-based Josh Nadel to learn about the intricacies of wine and mine the key ingredients for his character Tommy.

“The skill level at how at ease they are at opening a bottle of wine while they’re talking about it, it’s so beautiful to watch someone that skilled that I knew I had to try to get that down,” Schwimmer said.

The show comes at a time where the growing foodie scene in New York has divided locals as talented, innovative chefs have been at the forefront of the city’s gentrification.

“The Bronx is beautiful and people don’t know it because people don’t go to the Bronx,” said Clyde Phillips, writer and executive producer of “Feed The Beast.”

“It’s good news and bad news about gentrification. It brings business and money and jobs there but it also displaces families and upsets the schools, ecosystem, and we address both sides of that in the show.”

(This version of the story has corrected the premiere date to June 5 from May 31 in paragraph 2)

Reporting by Roselle Chen for Reuters TV; Writing by Piya Sinha-Roy in Los Angeles; Editing by Sandra Maler

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