Sunday, April 06, 2008

Morgan Spurlock

This has been a busy weekend here in the 'ville.

Friday night and most of Saturday found us doing yard work: moving brush pile items from the ice storm to the curb for pick up next week, when the city will be sending around pickup crews, re-edging most of the gardens, adding more rock to finish the newly rebuilt watercourse, and some assorted plantings (as well as a quick trip Saturday afternoon to St. Joe for some rock, since the local Earl May garden shop closed up their Maryville branch, forcing us to go to the one down the road). Add to that doing taxes and the laundry, and we're both tired.

But we've also had a moment of celebrity this weekend. I'm blogging this from the auditorium on campus, where indie documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, 30 Days, Where Is Osama Bin Laden?) is about to speak.


Lauren and I have never laughed so hard for so long ... Morgan Spurlock is GENIUS!

Unassuming, humble, but funny as hell, the writer/producer/star of Super Size Me! reminded all of us that careers don't happen overnight: telling us his story, Morgan related how he'd graduated from the NYC Film School after countless rejections from the UCLA film program, and how he had happened to graduate in the same class as M. Night Shamalayan ("you may have heard of him"), before becoming a runner/gofer for Tribeca Films (Martin Scorcese's studio) and later working as an intern on The Professional with Luc-Besson. After a short acting career (including the mental ward aide who is assisting Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) during the first part of Terminator 2 (who knew???)), Spurlock then became a live media spokesperson for Sony and later a producer of promotional films for Sony before developing a web-based show for MTV.

He then laid out the story of Super Size Me! Spurlock related that he had come up with what a friend and fellow producer called "the worst good idea" that Spurlock had ever had over a Thanksgiving, where after watching a news report about the two girls who were suing McDonald's restaurants as the cause of their weight gain, he decided to do a movie about the fast food industry and McDonald's in particular. He noted that he did it using $50,000 he had in hand (despite being in extreme credit debt), plus a cashed in annuity from his grandparents, and how he went from relative obscurity to overnight success at Sundance almost a year and a day after finishing the film.

Mixing that in with funny movie related tidbits: "America's number one steakhouse is Australian (Outback)", and that your average Bloomin' Onion appetizer has roughly 2,500 calories, Spurlock managed to convey that, jokes aside, the fast food lifestyle is unhealthy (even though he sometimes causes his vegan wife issues as he admits to still liking a good burger ... the kind you get from a local diner).

Following his talk, he opened the floor to questions, which ranged from the silly "want to come to our place for a beer bash afterward?" to the serious "how has becoming a father affected your work?"

The questions, and the evening, ended all too soon, but it was a great evening nonetheless.

1 comment:

patrick said...

Morgan Spurlock never ceases to impress me… i just saw Super Size Me, which as amazingly insightful, and now he's making a movie that looks into the war on terrorism? well done indeed