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Morgan Takin' One for the Team!Morgan Spurlock | Super Psyched
an emily blunt interview

 

 



Creative manly man Morgan Spurluck deserved a break. After developing a whopper of an idea - via the internet - where people would watch him wager on stupid "dares" for strangers, one of those hipper-than-thou cable TV stations (that plays music all day) bought the chulupa of an idea and wanted to air it. Sounds great right? Yeah, but that's where it got a wee bit Logan's Run-ish on the guy. The old Hollywood story rared its deep fried head…

See Spurlock was all ready over the plumb pickin's headshot portfolio's perferred age of twenty-one and actually had developed facial hair. I hear tell the purchasing producer was over heard at her tanning salon somewhere in Malibu snarling into a Fred Segal cell phone, "Way gross dude! Mor's Brando-old, like that Yoda thing from Rings or something. Get the babalisciuos Spencer or Bryce guy to do it."

Naturally I'm paraphrasing - but the point is his great idea was bought and packaged in a Happy Meal without him. Buh-bye.

That didn't stop Spurlock in his quest for original programming, or in this case full fledged film making. He says the idea for his now infamous festival darling doc aptly named, Super Size Me, came to him after stuffing himself like a human tick one fine holiday day - he sat there viewing those two young heffers that sued McDonalds for their weight issues whine about having their lawsuit turned down by a svelte, less than sympathetic judge in middle USA.

His idea was super simple - he'd document himself eating nothing but McDonalds' food items for thirty days- he'd subject himself to "every twelve year old's dream!" Morgan joked.

The film's results, along with Spurlock's comfort as "host" in this trip of the caloric macabre, have made the film a four star must see.

We sat down to chew the fat recently in a fast-food free environment:

Emily: First I have to ask - how often did you eat fast food before you made this?

Morgan: Maybe once a month, I live in New York and there everything is fast food, we can get great Indian, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Sushi, Chinese and you can get everything to go. I don't need to go to a fast food place, but once you leave the city you don't have any choices other than fast food chains.

Emily: Was your idea here to try and educate the people about these foods?

Morgan: The first thing for me is I wanted to make a great movie! I wanted to make a movie with a very serious subject in a way that would be accessible to everyone, in a way that everyone could watch it and enjoy it. My passion developed because the more research I did and the more I started to uncover, the more I got behind the project. In the beginning I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't know what it was going to be. The more research I did and the more layers I uncovered, it got very clear to me and I got excited. By the time we started to shoot I was more excited than I could even anticipate.

Emily: I have to ask since you also took on the corporate behemoths with such gusto did Bowling For Columbine influence you?

Morgan: That film was an influence in some ways, but for me it was all the documentaries that started gaining popularity, like Spellbound and Capturing The Friedmans and even before that I had been a big fan of documentaries. Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's movie Brother's Keeper is one of my favorite documentaries of all time. I've always enjoyed documentaries and one reason I decided to do it was that we could do it cheaply, and two, we could do it all by ourselves, we didn't have to hire a crew, and third, it was something I was passionate about. For me those were the three key things to making any film.

Emily: Why'dya pick on Mickey D's? Why'd you choose to ONLY eat at McDonalds?

Morgan N' Mickey Morgan: The thing is I could have eaten at any fast food chain and this would've happened, this would've happened anywhere. I picked out McDonalds for a couple of reasons, one, they were singled out in that lawsuit by the girls who didn't realize eating this way wasn't a good idea. The other reason is that McDonalds is the biggest chain in the world. They have influenced every other food company that has come after them. Every other company emulates their business. If McDonalds has an idea, everyone else gets the same idea later. I wanted to pick the company that could most easily institute change. If anyone was going to make things different, it's the leader. Now that they are making changes, everyone else will follow the leader.

Emily: The girls that originally influenced you, how'd they know McDonalds was what made them fat, sorry, thinly incapacitated? Or how'd they plan on proving their claim if they ate elsewhere?

Morgan: That's the same thing the judge said, which is why he threw the lawsuit out! Because there was no way they could prove it was just the McDonalds food.

Emily: Okay, but you got Orca big - lightening fast - on this culinary excursion - HA! You'd have a case...can you give me the before and after weight statistics again?

Morgan: I started at 185.5 lbs. And I ended at 210 [after thirty days eating only McDonalds]. As of two weeks ago I'm back to 185, it took 14 months! I started watching what I was eating and exercising. Along the way I would lose a pound, then gain three, and I would lose two pounds and gain five, the reason why I think this is I really believe that your body has fat memory. Once you gain weight, your body wants to gain weight again. When you build up the fat cells in your body, they don't go away when you lose weight, they just shrink. When you overeat, the fat cells do what they want to do, they want to store fat. It's easy to gain weight because the fat cells are in there looking to do that. I pay more attention to what I eat now than I ever have. I eat slower so I make sure to not overeat and I exercise a lot. I don't eat a lot of deep fried food, but I had a cheeseburger today. I love cheeseburgers, they are great. I don't get them from McDonalds or Burger King, if I'm going to have a cheeseburger then I'm going to a place that makes a really good cheeseburger, that actually tastes like a cheeseburger and doesn't taste like this manufactured food. I can't even eat McDonalds anymore, the food tastes so fake, it doesn't even taste real to me, and it tastes like chemicals and plastic.

Emily: It's sad about our school's education huh - where we really have a chance to say show this film and teach kids how to eat properly?

Morgan: Yes, they are eliminating health classes, where you learn about nutrition and how to eat healthy are being eliminated. They are also eliminating Physical Education classes where you run and do jumping jacks. They are also putting horrible food in the cafeterias, which is filled with fat and sugar; it's like fast food. It's no wonder that our kids are gaining weight.

Emily: If you were to start a trendy McDiet - how would you approach it?

Morgan: Too many people try to deal with the problem by going on crash diets, like Atkins or South Beach, but we don't need to do that, we need to change our lifestyles. We need to change the way we eat and exercise and learn to live that way. In America it's all about what you want right now, but people don't think of the long-term consequences.

Emily: You think things are different "these days"?

Morgan: Yes, so different. Parents now say they don't have time to cook for their kids so they go out and get fast food. So what's missing now is this education for your child, parents are teaching their children that it's okay to eat out 4 or 5 times per week. So you are going to raise a kid who eats out 4 or 5 times per week, or more. Kids need role models that are positive. If you eat out and don't exercise, you will raise a kid who will do the same.

Emily: Was it hard to look at that same menu everyday?

Morgan: Yes, the food tastes exactly the same, the bread tastes the same. I had to try to convince myself to get excited about it. By day 9 I was so tired of the menu I couldn't stand it.

Emily: Okay, here's the million dollar question: If you were in the middle of the ocean of fire - no food for miles - but then like an oasis of carbs - you spotted the arches of gold, would you pony up and order a Happy Meal or two?

Morgan: We won't go there. We'll drive by; we'll find a grocery store and buy groceries before I would eat there. I won't eat most fast food, I'm done. I knew I had to finish the movie. Believe me, those days couldn't go by fast enough. Those 30 days felt like a year.

END

As I got up to leave my biggie size Freedom Fry wrapper plummeted to the ground as we both nervously laughed, I reached quickly for the traitorous paper...

I'm kidding - though thanks to Morgan's remarkably blunt film, I cower a little when I drive by McDonalds and my mind starts to play tricks with me, as I have this continuing vision of these tall stripe hosed clowns dancing - beckoning - about, while sinister neckless purple blobs frolic in circles waving bags of yellow muck towards me singing, "One-two-three-four...can I have a little more..."

See this incredible film. It's not a soap box piece that pushes a director's opinion about life down your throat like a un-ketchuped hamburger - no - it's genuinely brilliant and should be mandatory viewing in schools and homes. Super Size Me is just that important and well done.

 

Special thanks to Izumi Hasegawa @ http://www.hollywoodnewswire.net/
for assistance in the fruition of this interview.


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