Hey, I'm Morgan Spurlock. I make movies and TV shows. You may have seen the show that I have on CNN right now called Inside Man, but more than likely, you know me as the guy who almost killed myself eating nothing but fast food.

My upcoming episode of Inside Man airing this Sunday, May 4 10pm ET is all about privacy, specifically: How easy is it to track someone online? How much info does the government have on each of us? And how much info do corporations keep on us – tracking where we live, what we buy, and for whom we buy it? Thought you guys might get a kick out of that.

So with that in mind, I'm here with Victoria from reddit -so go ahead and ask me anything.


Thanks for another kickass AMA. Hopefully I get to come back soon and talk to you guys again.

Comments: 360 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

LiftingStuff161 karma

I just wanted you to know I miss being able to super size my fries. I still haven't forgiven you for that.

IamMorganSpurlock339 karma

Well then order two, chubs.

stephenbawesome60 karma

Does it bother you that you can't ever use the line "If you were my girl, I'd be eating out more than the guy in Supersize Me" because that was you in the film? Or can you modify that line, somehow?

IamMorganSpurlock70 karma

I'm borrowing that line immediately. Don't worry, I'm going to figure out a way to use that line.

SuperGirly59 karma

Hey! Big fan. I miss your 30 Days series; I loved every episode. Was there an episode you wanted to do but didn't get to for some reason? The minimum wage episode has stuck with me. Was there anything that got edited out you think is really interesting and could share?

IamMorganSpurlock60 karma

In Season 1, we tried to do the Prison Episode, and we tried to do it with a former prosecutor where we had a prosecutor go into the prison, and we couldn't find a prison that would allow this to happen. So then in season 2, I decided to be the person who would go to prison, and we found a medium security facility in Richmond, VA that would allow us to shoot.

The only thing I wanted to do that they wouldn't allow us to shoot was in the Immigration episode I wanted to sneak over the border with a Coyote, and Fox legal said ABSOLUTELY NOT.

stellar746 karma

Which episode of 30 Days had the biggest impact on you?

IamMorganSpurlock142 karma

The one that personally affected me the most was probably the Navajo episode, where I lived on the Navajo reservation for 30 days. To kind of see a group of people who are living in essentially a 3rd world country in the middle of America is unbelievable. And to see how they continue to get treated as second-class citizens. When I first met with the Tribe Elders about shooting this episode, they asked me about my intention. Intention is a big thing in the Navajo community, with whatever you decide to do. And that's something that has stuck with me since then. Now whenever we begin a project, we ask ourselves: what is our intention.


It has been 10 years since supersize me. How do you feel the fast food industry has changed since then?

IamMorganSpurlock68 karma

It's a pretty incredible thing when you walk into many of these places, and there are salads, there's fruit, the giant portions have vanished. I think the culture shift that has happened within the industry is pretty amazing. But at the end of the day, things can still be much better. And the calorie counts too.

HonorConnor26 karma

A lot of those salads are loading with dressing and other unhealthy items. It's progress though.

IamMorganSpurlock44 karma

Some salad is always better than no salad. God forbid they start selling green things.

RunDNA37 karma

I've heard a lot of controversy over "Super Size Me", with many people suspicious of your results. Will you release your food logs from the movie, so researchers can see exactly how many calories you ate per day? And if you won't release them, why not?

IamMorganSpurlock36 karma

Well, we don't have the food logs anymore. The food logs, we kept them up until we finished the film, and then we got rid of everything. But for me, we talked about how many calories I ate. I was eating upwards of 5,000 calories per day, which I think is illustrative of how we live in a country where people over-eat and under-exercise. At its heart, that is ultimately the core message of that movie, and how we need to take responsibility for our own actions.

RunDNA8 karma

Fair enough. The message certainly had a wide audience and a positive effect. The documentary is still very popular with a lot of people I know, people who don't normally watch documentaries.

IamMorganSpurlock46 karma

People always ask me what docs they should show their friends who don't like documentaries. There is a list of gateway docs that I think everyone should know.

Super Size Me is one of those films, as is:

  • American Movie
  • Heavy Metal Parking Lot
  • Hands on a Hard Body
  • King of Kong

Those 4 are good ones.

IamMorganSpurlock4 karma

Once people watch these movies, they realize how entertaining docs can actually be.

Friar_Lawrencebud35 karma

What do you think of Fat Head, the documentary of supersize me?

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

Never seen it.

ajlposh27 karma

Since Super Size Me, have you ever eaten McDonald's again?

IamMorganSpurlock47 karma

Not since March 2, 2003.

AdmiralAkbar126 karma

What is your opinion on other scientific studies not being able to replicate the results of yours?

IamMorganSpurlock9 karma

Well, I've seen studies of people who have eaten the diet who have gotten ill. And there have been studies of people who have gotten sick as a result. So I don't think that is completely accurate.

Frajer26 karma

How did you wind up directing One Direction? What were their fans like?

IamMorganSpurlock30 karma

Their fans were… unbelievable. Camping outside of hotels days on end, screaming nonstop when they saw them. And I got that job when the folks from Sony, from the studio, called me and asks if I would be interested in meeting with them. What a lot of people don't know is that i also got called by Paramount to meet with them about the Bieber film and the Katy Perry film. When I got called about the Bieber film, i was in the middle of shooting The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, so I couldn't focus on another movie, and when they called about the Katy Perry film, I was finishing both Mansome & Comic-Con episode 4, so I couldn't add a 3rd film to the mix. So when this opportunity came up - and as a doc filmmaker, they don't come up very often - I said "this is the third time this has happened, I HAVE to go meet with the studio, I can't let this opportunity slip through my fingers."

C_Eh-N_Eh-D_Eh19 karma

Are you in love with "Super High Me?"

IamMorganSpurlock98 karma

I'm in love with Doug Benson, period. I met Doug benson on Jimmy Kimmel years ago, a few years after Super Size Me came out, and he told me the idea about Super High Me, to smoke marijuana for 30 days, and then NOT smoke marijuana for 30 days, he said "that's the science part." I said "you should go make that film" and then 2 years later, I was at SXSW with Where in the World is Osama Bin Ladin, and his movie was premiering there, and someone asked me "what you think of this film" and I said "Look, anytime a stoner comes up with an idea and sees it through, we should encourage and support that." And I've seen it, it's fantastic.

Pookie_Princess19 karma

I ran into you at Despaña in SoHo a few years back. When I recognized you on my way out, we had a long awkward stare, and I blurted out "I love you." You said the same back to me, thank you for that.

I was in shock and speechless when I first saw you. I couldn't control what I was saying or what I wanted to say. What I really wanted to say is that I respect your work, always look forward to your new projects, and am avid supporter because you create such thoughtful work in a time where our television programs have so much trash on repeat.

I also think about how annoying it must be to walk around NYC and always be recognized and not left alone. I wanted to say sorry, and I hope I didn't bother you too much that day. I think about how everyone else in the store looked at you after they saw my reaction, and I always wonder if I annoyed you when you probably were just looking to buy a nice lunch and enjoy yourself that day.

IamMorganSpurlock25 karma

Thank you. Don't worry. And I still love you.

zacharywcox18 karma

Morgan, thank you so much for being here. Super Size Me got me interested in being a documentarian, and led me to spend a year developing my own. Recently, I've started a movie based podcast. We'll be watching Super Size Me in the coming months, and it would be an absolute honor to have you on the show. I'd only need 15-20 mins. of your time. I'd ask about your involvement with Super Size Me, other aspects of your career, and to promote upcoming projects. It's a long shot I'm sure, but it's worth a try as I just truly appreciate you as a person. Thanks for taking time to read my request and I look forward to your potential response!

Thanks again, Zach

IamMorganSpurlock17 karma

Great! You should talk to my peoples. [email protected]

bhietanen15 karma

Can you give us a breakdown of Oscar night the year Super Size Me was nominated?

Did you like your chances of winning Best Documentary that night and what was your speech going to be about if you won?

IamMorganSpurlock43 karma

My favorite part of that night was that was the first and only time where they made the nominees get up on stage miss America style. So all 5 of the doc nominees were lined up together, and I was watching all night, and they were bringing the Oscars on from Stage left, and i was the only person in the category who was by myself - everybody else had a director / producer combo. So I said the minute the wall moves, and if I turn left and I see the woman standing offstage holding one Oscar, then I know I'll have won. So we get in line, we're standing there behind the wall, Leonard Di Caprio is standing there behind the walls that are about to slide open, the announcer goes "please welcome Leonardo Di Caprio' and he's about to go walking onstage - and I look stage left, and there's the girl holding 2 Oscars.

But you want to win SO BAD, you tell yourself "Maybe she's just fucking with me." Maybe she'll say "It's you! Only one!" But sadly it wasn't me.

But I was ecstatic for my friends Ross & Zana who won that night. Their film, Born Into Brothels, is a beautiful movie.

I don't remember my speech, I'm sure it must have mentioned my parents, growing up in West Virginia, how lucky I was to have had the family I had, the people I got to work with, I'm sure it was about that, who knows. It was 10 years ago, stop reminding me of what a loser I am. Now I'm crying on my reddit AMA. Thanks a lot.

dayofthedead20414 karma

Hi Morgan,

Thanks for doing this AMA! I’m a big fan.

My question is if there were no health consequences to eating fast food – which fast food restaurant would you eat at every day?

Also – is there any plans to release “Inside Man” on DVD?

IamMorganSpurlock26 karma

I love In-n-Out burger. And Shake Shack. Shake Shack is one of the greatest things to be created in the history of NYC. And if I could eat there, every day, I would, although my liver and the rest of my body would probably hate me.

Season One of Inside Man is now on Netflix. No word yet about a DVD. But hopefully.

filteredspam11 karma

Have you read "The Man Inside Me?"

IamMorganSpurlock7 karma

I have not, but now i feel like I have to.

IamMorganSpurlock7 karma

Was it written by a man, or by a very manly woman?

joopius11 karma

Hey Morgan - took this pic the other day and reminded me of you.

Do images like this bring tears of joy? http://i.imgur.com/uaApaM4.jpg

IamMorganSpurlock10 karma

Where I live in Brooklyn, they just boarded up and fenced in a McDonald's that's about to get torn down. Every time I walk by something like that, a little bit of my heart gets happier.

This_comment_has10 karma

Do you think Pom got their money's worth?

IamMorganSpurlock22 karma

Absolutely. Every day. Every day they got their money's worth. The interesting story is that when we were doing our deal with Pom, for the million dollars, the deal was they would pay us a million dollars for the above-the-title sponsorship - one of the things they offered up was "rather than offer up all this money, why don't we offer it based up on media impressions" and we so just wanted to get the money in the bank, that we said no. But by the time the film came out, and had played in theaters just in the united states, the movie had 5 BILLION media impressions. They offered us a deal where that 5 billion would have been $5 million. So the greatest lesson we learned after making that ilm is that we should always bet on ourselves. And we didn't. We should have bet on ourselves.

SugarPistils10 karma


IamMorganSpurlock16 karma

Thank you very much. That was the same look my mom gave me throughout my whole childhood.

IsntNotNathan9 karma

Hi Mr. Spurlock, I am doing a speech on you for my history class. I am focusing on your super size me documentary and how you hoped to reform the industry. What do you believe the video has accomplished and how do you believe people should try and change the fast food industry

IamMorganSpurlock10 karma

I think the film has gotten more people to look at the choices they make in their own lives & in their own diet than I could have ever imagined. Every time I travel, I get stopped in the airport by somebody who says how long it's been since they've eaten fast food, or they'll pull a picture out of their wallet that shows them like 100 pounds ago. The impact that it's made on personal responsibility is phenomenal.

As far as the industry goes, I think they can always do better, but it's up to us to make that change. Vote with your dollars.

Mrs_Damon8 karma

Hey Morgan!

Are there any TV shows you're currently obsessed with?

IamMorganSpurlock23 karma

I am so obsessed with Game of Thrones, and VEEP, and Silicon Valley, and I am such a goofball Shark Tank addict I can't stand it.

Ianjib8 karma

Are there any plans to make an Inside Man episode on Intactivism?

IamMorganSpurlock12 karma

As someone who is already snipped, but is the father of a young boy with an elephant trunk, I think it's an interesting topic. But not one that's probably made for CNN.

ClearEyesxFullHearts8 karma

What can you tell us about the Brony documentary screened at Tribeca? Do you understand Brony culture now?

IamMorganSpurlock14 karma

After making the Comic-Con film that we produced with Stan Lee & Joss Whedon, and being a geek myself, I had a much better understanding & love of people who are so passionate about these types of subcultures. When I look at Bronies, who are (for those of you who don't know, they are grown men who love My Little Pony)- you understand that there is something very pure, and simple, about their passion for these characters and the stories. And it's not like as weird or as creepy that people want to imagine it. And the movie comes out this July, you should all check it out. You'll be shocked how much you like the film and love these Bronies. And they're going to do a Brony-tastic AMA soon.

SuperGirly7 karma

I ran into Max from Catfish on the streets of New York and he told me about a new docu called Fed Up. It looks like it tackles the same issues as Supersize Me in a different way. Have you seen it? Thoughts?

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

I actually just got sent a link to that. So I'm anxious to see it. I've heard a lot of good things about the movie.

drusaysso7 karma

Morgan, Love your show... On inside man, Any chance you can feature yourself in the shoes of a Redditor. Maybe grow a neck beard... become overwhelming pale and unwashed?

IamMorganSpurlock25 karma

I have to tell you, I'm sitting next to a redditor right now, and she has a very lovely neckbeard.

narshall7 karma

Hey Morgan, I'm a big fan of your work!
"Super Size Me" and "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" each had a real impact on my life.
I am yet to see "This Is Us". How did you end up directing that? Were the guys fans of your films? How do you feel about them? Do you have any funny stories from the production?
Thank you for making documentaries, and for making them fun and interesting!

IamMorganSpurlock6 karma

I think they like every other kid in health class on earth was forced to watch Super Size Me at some point. So they'd seen that movie. And a couple of them had actually seen Greatest Movie Ever Sold. So I was pretty happy about that.

EmptyPlanet6 karma

Hey Mr.Spurlock- thanks for the IAmA! Mind sharing a bit about how you came to be involved with the One Direction documentary, This Is Us? Did you have any worries as far as working with young pop stars, and did they defy your expectations? Big fan of the film and the band- I think more lads like myself will come around soon as well- their music is only getting better :)

IamMorganSpurlock8 karma

I was impressed by them, because I think they've done a very good job of staying grounded in the midst of their world becoming insane. And i think part of that is because they have four other guys who are around them to keep them grounded, whereas somebody like Bieber does not.

GBDiaz136 karma

Love your work and have watched all of your movies. Mighty proud to be able to call you my brother!

Happy founders day!


IamMorganSpurlock1 karma

Thanks a lot brother, really appreciate it! Perge!

Eternally655 karma

I'm looking forward very much to watching that Inside Man. By the way, do you know that an all star team from a lot of big encryption / privacy players is doing an AMA right now on the NSA/GCHQ and encryption standards?

Personally, I worry at least as much about corporations because they have access to so much data, but people don't generally realize it. Are you planning to talk about Big Data, particularly the credit card company data? How about Google Earth (which makes me slightly uneasy) and Google Street View (which makes me more than slightly uneasy)?

And, Victoria, remember you still owe us an IAmA. <grin>

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

You should watch this Sunday's episode of Inside Man. You are going to love it. I feel like I made that show specifically for this question.

drunkstatistician5 karma

Morgan - Any plans on doing an Inside Man in the coal mining industry and the impacts to Appalachia? Or is that an industry that is difficult to see inside?

IamMorganSpurlock9 karma

We did a great episode of 30 Days where i went back to WV and worked as a coal miner. It's on Netflix, you should watch that show because it's a great episode. So I don't think we can do that for Inside Man because 30 days did such a great job encapsulating that world.

bigsuit135 karma

What is the most embarrassing you've had to do as a result of losing a bet?

IamMorganSpurlock7 karma

I had to run down the street in NYC naked. It was a few years ago. Thank goodness this was all pre-YouTube or cell phone cameras, or else there would be evidence of this somewhere.

stevenxdavis5 karma

I really enjoyed your TED talk about transparency. How do you feel about the current lack of government transparency? For example, what is the value of a black budget, and why is government oversight so difficult right now?

IamMorganSpurlock9 karma

Government Oversight is difficult because they are overseeing themselves. It's like who watches the watchmen? We've put the bank robbers in charge of the bank. On this Sunday's episode of Inside Man, where we talk about privacy, you see how much control we continue to give up of our privacy to the government as well as to corporations. I think that this is a very important issue, especially with what has come to light over the past year thanks to Edward Snowden. I think that something has to be changed.

ndodpgk165 karma

Hi Morgan. What are your thoughts on the American Diet in general? Is there another country we should emulate or has the spread of fast food overseas made our diet flaws ubiquitous worldwide?

IamMorganSpurlock9 karma

The Western diet - or SAD diet (standard american diet) has been exported all around the world. I don't think you can go anywhere now, except maybe Antarctica, and not find a fast food chain. I think the key is, to avoid it, you have to go to a remote village somewhere in like, the southern tip of Thailand or Japan where guys still fish in boats, that's where you might be able to find people who have yet to be influenced by our diabetes-driven culture. I think that our diet as a rule is very unhealthy. It's what's around. In New York City, we're fortunate, I can get great indian food, or chinese food, or mexican food, fast. I'm not getting stuff that's been mass-produced that is meant to sit around forever. But when you start to get out in rural america, it becomes very difficult. My hometown is chain restaurant central. But so are most towns in America.

zennk5 karma

Morgan welcome back to Reddit!!!! Huge fan!!!

My question is based on the Inside Man episode about living forever. Have you maintained the supplement regimen?

IamMorganSpurlock6 karma

Yes, I have continued the regimen. I'm still taking 30 supplements a day. And I've lost 20-some pounds. But it's an expensive process: just the tests that I had done would cost around $12,000. To store my stem cells would cost another $4-5,000 (total) and then you have to pay a yearly fee of a couple hundred bucks. And the supplements are a couple hundred bucks a month. So it ain't cheap, but MAN I look good.

LazyBuhdaBelly5 karma

Favorite type of food?

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

I love italian food. I love italian food so much. My mom turned 70 2 years ago, and we took her to Italy for a family vacation. And for 2 weeks, we ate the best food I could have possibly eaten in my life. Everything is just like made with love.

LeopardKhan4 karma

Hi Morgan. I'm a fan and have great respect for what you've done. Having said that, I was a bit surprised with your collaboration with One Direction. Without claiming I would have reacted differently to you to such an opportunity, do you not feel that they, or more-so the industry forces behind them, represent a cynical and negative cultural trend? I mean, the vapidness, the odd psuedo-sexual marketing, the way they'll likely be replaced with younger models in a year or two, et cetera. For me, it conflicted with the kind of awareness you were trying to create in your previous work. I say this as someone who has worked briefly in a media role that aimed content specifically at their target demographic. I found the way that generation is consuming culture to be disturbing.

IamMorganSpurlock3 karma

I think that I have been given an incredible opportunity to make thought-provoking films and television projects on a daily basis.

I get to make things that challenge beliefs and outlooks continually. But to have an opportunity to make a film of this scope and this scale, with a studio like Sony, about a band who is at this moment in their career- and to put it in a better perspective for you, more people saw this film the day it came out than every other film I've ever made in a movie theater.

So I appreciate your disappointment, but at the same time, as a filmmaker, and a business owner, I think an opportunity like that is rare. And you need to be open to expanding your world of influence.

And this phenomenon in pop music is not a new one. We just live in a world now where the awareness and knowledge of such bands is instantaneous, thanks to social media and twitter, where a new musical discovery can make its way around the world in seconds. I find that to be the bigger trend shift that's happened. But on the whole, I'm so proud of that film.

odnad4 karma

Hey Morgan, glad you're here. With so many new tracking widgets for location, buying preferences, apps, etc. is it possible to stay at the front of the consumer technology curve without relinquishing privacy data?

IamMorganSpurlock10 karma

Wow, that's a great question. No, I don't think it is. I think the minute you buy anything now, you have to agree to the service agreement. You have to agree to the terms of service, which, when you read through it, allows them to sell your information, sell your data, track your habits, and we have just given that up, and we continue to give that up on a daily basis.

yeahfilms4 karma

How do you manage the scale of the story/project? Do you create a formula going into it?

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

Whenever we start any project, whether it be a TV show or a film, we always say: In a perfect world, if everybody had rainbows and unicorns, what would happen in this film? Here's what would happen over the course of this movie. That, the minute you get shooting, gets thrown out the window, because very few of the things you imagine happening actually happen. But what it does do is help you decide a direction to begin.

Years ago, when I made my first film, I asked a filmmaker friend of mine for some advice, and he said If the movie you end up with is the exact movie you envisioned, then you didn't listen to anybody along the way.

Snizzlefry4 karma

Do you find you and Louis Theroux similar in a good way?

IamMorganSpurlock6 karma

I like Louis Theroux a lot. I think he's very smart, I think he's very funny. I think he makes films and tells stories that are very accessible. Which, especially when you're dealing with serious issues, I think is important.

ScrantonPaper4 karma

I know you enjoy your facial hair but would you please rock a full beard? You'd look so good!

IamMorganSpurlock10 karma

That's amazing. I just had somebody on Facebook tell me how much they hate my mustache. I feel like the worlds of reddit and Facebook are colliding.

drunkstatistician5 karma

I hope I get to see more of your WVU hat soon. It looked like it was helpful while picking oranges.

IamMorganSpurlock8 karma

It's helpful in everything I do. It gives me strength. It gives me hillbilly power.

FauxSheezey4 karma

As a fellow West Virginian (and a big fan of SSM, 30 Days, Pom...), I'm curious about your thoughts on the massive January chemical leak in Charleston, the aftermath and the state's political & economic future. Do you have any docs in the works about the disaster?

IamMorganSpurlock4 karma

Such a tragic story, and it's one that resonates all across the country, when you hear about these towns that are so dependent on industries that take advantage of the people who lived there. I thought on the heels of that accident that there would be some type of regulation or change would happen, but that was not the case and I'm not surprised. I'd love to do a story about that, maybe on Inside Man season 3.

Fallout_is_amazing4 karma

Hello Mr. Spurlock I thank you so much for doing this AMA all I want to know is during the filming of supersize me how much money was spent on McDonalds meals

IamMorganSpurlock8 karma

It was like $700, over the course of a whole month. That was in 2004 money.

peavyhob4 karma

How do you feel about the inherent "unreal" nature of documentaries? When you make a documentary, how do you balance telling the truth and telling a compelling story (not to say that these two things are mutually exclusive)?

IamMorganSpurlock7 karma

Well the first thing for us is to tell the truth. The first thing for us is to tell the real story. You can find the entertainment value around that. But first and foremost, you have to tell the truth.

torn_rag_doll4 karma

I just saw the latest episode of inside man where you were at an animal shelter in Pennsylvania. I used to live in reading. :)

How much did you cry when the pittbull was put down? Did the little kitty survive? Do you have any pets?

Also, I think you're awesome. :)

IamMorganSpurlock7 karma

I loved making that episode. Working in a shelter where animals are put down is a very difficult place to work because you can feel the emotional strain in the air. But at the same time, it's met with incredible euphoria when you can rescue animal after animal after animal, and help these dogs and cats find their forever homes. I took Carlito back to New York, and sadly he didn't make it. It was a very rough couple of days in our house. But we hope to get another kitten soon.

hanzibonzi3 karma

Hey Mr. Spurlock, big fan of your work. If there were one thing you could recommend for young people (high school/college) what would it be?

IamMorganSpurlock12 karma

Life is too short. Do what you love. And don't give up. It took me 10 years to kind of find my place in the industry, and to find my feet, and understand who I was as a storyteller and as a filmmaker, whereas a lot of people I went to film school with had become bankers or real-estate brokers. When it got hard, a lot of people I had gone to school with gave up. And I didn't want to do anything else, I couldn't do anything else, I didn't have the skillset to do anything else.

Unclemeow3 karma

Hello, I've been a big fan for a long time. I saw you and your son and possibly ex-wife at at a playground in Brooklyn a few years ago and didn't want to bother you on a day you were obviously trying to spend with you family. That being said how do you often react to fans?

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

When I'm with my son, and somebody asks if they can take a picture, or ask me a question, I ask him if it's okay. And so I let him decide whether or not if he wants me to just spend time with him. But sometimes we're with a friend of his, and he could care less what Daddy does, he'd rather play with his friend anyways. But I try to make my time with him be as valuable as possible, since I travel so much and it's hard to have quality time with him. But I know I've made a choice that puts me out there, and I know that i have to be respectful of people's questions.

cbwatts11383 karma

What kind of measures did you take to make sure any lawsuits wouldn't effect your documentaries, especially your early work. For example, using McDonalds in a film, or a documentary that might show copyrighted logos in the background or on someone's t-shirt.

IamMorganSpurlock7 karma

We continually talk to our lawyers when we are making things to make sure that we are staying within the boundaries of what is legal. Super Size Me, for example, with the story we were telling, I couldn't tell that story without using those logos. So based upon free speech and fair use, I had the right to use those logos because they were pertinent to the narrative. At the end of the day, the only thing that McDonalds could come after me for was Trespassing. But I think they realized that would have been a big error in judgement.

Ianjib3 karma

I would really like to see you do an Inside Man episode on 3D Printing or Raw Foodism. Where do you get ideas for episodes of your show?

IamMorganSpurlock3 karma

We get the ideas straight out of Shannon Gibson's brain. As well as all of the other amazing producers at work on the show. We pull them from the headlines, from newspaper articles, magazine headlines, news story headlines, things that affect all of us. This season we're doing the episode on NSA and spying and privacy, we're doing an episode on Student athletes and should you pay them, so for me what I really want the show to try to be is an extension of what you hear on the news that takes you deeper on a way that you wouldn't have thought to do on it.

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

One of the episodes we're doing is called the book of Morgan, which is all about the rise of an Atheist Church in America. It's a no-religion church. There is a whole group, called the Sunday Assembly, that started in the UK, that is now making its way into cities across America. In the show I go to Nashville, where the Nashville Chapter had just been launched, and I lead the congregation. It's a fantastic show.

Killerbadger773 karma

First Time Redditor here. What made you interested in documentaries? Also you have a great narration Voice.

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

Thank you (in my voiceover voice).

I didn't grow up wanting to make documentaries. I don't know what kid at the age of 9 is saying "I can't wait to make movies about terrorism or obesity!" as a kid, I wanted to make narrative films, it wasn't until I came to New York and went to NYU that I got turned on to documentaries. I saw Brother's Keeper in a movie theater and loved that film. It was one of those moments that was just as thrilling as any dramatic movie could be, so it was a turning point about the commerciality, or the fondness that i had for this type of a genre. And then when the show I had on MTV got cancelled, and we got the idea of Super Size Me, and at that point Michael Moore had made Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, the Big One, there had been films that were made about serious issues but were very accessible. I though the idea of Super Size Me could actually be viable.

FauxSheezey3 karma

What became of your stellar, logo-laden suit from "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold"?

IamMorganSpurlock1 karma

Well, we want to get it framed - the final suit we had 3 versions - a black one, a blue one, and a gray one. The gray one we gave to a charity auction that the Sundance film festival had. The Blue one is hanging in my office, it's over on the coat rack, and the black one is in my apartment.

RossBoss953 karma

Our teacher showed us 2 of your documentaries. I really enjoyed the greatest movie ever sold. What was the hardest part about filming it?

IamMorganSpurlock9 karma

The hardest part about it was getting the first brand to say yes.

What you don't see in the movie, to when Ban Deodorant says yes, was NINE MONTHS. What you don't see is 9 months of about 900 phone calls, and meetings, and us trying to get people to be a part of the film, and then the minute Ban said yes, it changed everything.

Then suddenly I would call up people and they would ask "Who's sponsoring this movie?" And I would say "Well, it is being sponsored by Ban deodorant" and they would say "Come in and meet with us!"

Who know Ban deodorant was the linchpin of advertising?

RaaronS783 karma

Who's a bigger Beckley-ian? You or Chris Sarandon? You have super size me... But he's got fright night & princess bride.... That's a close 1...!!

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

I mean, come on, he's Chris Sarandon, let's be real. Have you seen how handsome he is? I mean, look at this ugly face.

E_Rock3 karma

How often are you recognized by fans?

IamMorganSpurlock11 karma

Probably every day. Luckily I'm not Tom Cruise, I can still have a life, take the subway and go to the coffee shop across the street. You see people who are trapped in their homes, or when we were shooting with the One Direction guys and they were literally getting chased down the street. I'm grateful that I have just enough fame to make the things i want to make, but not enough to where it's a hindrance on having a life.

wormylaroche3 karma

What's next for you?

IamMorganSpurlock6 karma

After this? I've got a couple of phone calls with producers about some future film projects, I've got a pre-interview for Larry King, and then tonight I'm taking my little boy to see Pixar at the New York Philharmonic. After that, not really sure.

But work-wise, we have a new show on Showtime that premiers June 19th called The Seven Deadly Sins.

ArmadilloZero3 karma

Can we get a sequel to supersize me? I watched the 30 days series you did and enjoyed that.

IamMorganSpurlock9 karma

I wanted to make a sequel where I wanted to unionize a McDonalds. there was a guy in Canada who made a movie, I think the sequel was called Maxine, MacDuff, and MacDo, it was french-canadian, where he and a group tried to unionize a McDonald's. When the union is approved, McDonald's comes during the night and basically shuts the place down, takes down all the signage removes all the equipment, it was desolate. They said "it was losing money, so we shut it down." I loved that movie and would love to tell that story from an American point of view.

I also wanted to make a 3rd movie: Super Size Me Three, Obese in 3-D, where i would eat myself to morbid obesity.

ovary_act3 karma

Would you rather fight 100 Big-Mac sized One Directions or 1 One Direction sized Big-Mac

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

I would have to go with the 1 One Direction sized Big Mac.

damnureditt3 karma

Morgan, I was just talking about Where in the World is OBL on another Reddit thread!

I can't think of any questions right now, but I just want to drop by and say that's one of my favorite documentaries ever. And in the end, you were (almost) right!

IamMorganSpurlock9 karma

We were almost right. We were in Pakistan. We were very very close. The incredible thing was when the movie came out, we were thrown under the bus by everybody, drawn across the coals, how can he make light of terrorism, how can he think Osama's in Pakistan… and then when they found him, we got a call from FOX news, saying "You were right! He was in Pakistan, you have to come on the show."

And I did.

primetimedice3 karma

Hey Morgan, thanks for joining us today!

A couple of years ago my small hometown in South Dakota (which I was still living in at the time) was part of a shortlist to change our name to "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, SD." Things seemed to be on track for it to happen and then it just kind of didn't. Just curious as to whatever happened with that? And also thank you for briefly and indirectly getting me involved with my town's local government!

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

Yes, I remember that very clearly. We were very close to the town in SD doing it, and then Altoona, Pennsylvania stepped up and offered for us to come there, they basically were going to put together a whole day of celebration around the movie. And I think part of the reason they wanted it to happen in their town was because Sheetz (the greatest convenience store you'll ever shop in) is located. So I think they had some internal lobbying influence that helped bring us there, and got the city to change its name to Pom Wonderful Presents; The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Pennsylvania.

But I do love South Dakota.

g0vi3 karma

Hey Morgan, what is your current exercise routine?

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

The biggest thing is I try to run or ride my bike as much as possible. And I travel a lot, so I try to work out in the gym otherwise I feel like a lazy bum in a hotel room. So those are the biggest things.

SharpNazgul3 karma

Hey Morgan!

I really like your documentaries, especially Super-Size Me, and I have a question about that one. A while in the documentary, you are told that your body might take permanent damage from the experiment. The question is:

Did that experiment really leave you with some long-lasting damage? Are you still experiencing negative effects from it?

IamMorganSpurlock10 karma

I think the longest running effect that I had from making that film is my body's ability to gain weight. Because once you gain weight, and then you lose it, those fat cells in your body don't magically vanish. Your body is filled with fat cells that are ready to do their job. So I had the ability to gain weight really quickly and really easily after making that film. So that's been the longest effect. I think maybe now if might actually be fine. Especially after this season, after the Futurism episode of Inside Man where I went to see a doctor that put me on a very specific vitamin regimen.

One of the things that the doctor brought up when I met with him, was because I had my DNA analyzed, I have the gene to be susceptible to Type 2 Diabetes. So for me, paying attention to what I eat and how I live is incredibly important, and something that - especially now, moving forward, I remain incredibly cognizant of. But luckily, in a few more years, I'll be able to 3-D print any organs I need.

kanadianm2k3 karma

Hi Morgan.

Super huge fan from Canada. I have loved your style of documentary since seeing Supersize Me. I am working on a podcast about entrepreneurship, inspiration and movement makers. Would you consider being a guest and talking about your Yahoo show "Failure Club"?

IamMorganSpurlock3 karma

email [email protected] and you should see the film we put out a few years ago called The Entrepreneur about Malcolm Bricklin, who was Canadian, and his quest to bring the first chinese car company to America. It's a phenomenal film.

Kknowsbest3 karma

If they made a movie about your life, who would play you (other than yourself)?

IamMorganSpurlock8 karma

Hopefully someone dashingly handsome, with a great mustache. You want to believe it would be someone like Johnny Depp, in my mind, that's what i want, but in reality it would be David Koechner or John C. Reilly.

khall63442 karma

Describe Michael Moore in 1 word

IamMorganSpurlock3 karma


Snizzlefry2 karma

Bring back "30 Days"

IamMorganSpurlock4 karma

I'd be all for it. I loved making that show.

cmonguysimatwork2 karma

Mr. Spurlock, I've heard that you are a serious art collector. Can you tell us who some of your favorite contemporary artists are? And what you look for in a piece that moves you to purchase it?

IamMorganSpurlock4 karma

I buy what I like. I mean, I think that's the #1 thing as an art collector, buy what you like. You don't want to have something in your house that you can't look at every day. Just in my office as I look around right now, I have pieces by Scott Radke, Scott Musgrove, Gary Baseman, Shephard Fairey, Ron English, Connor Harrington, Kid Zoom, Nouar, and the Date Farmers. So I like all kinds of pop surrealist, contemporary, street, low-brow, whatever you want to call it.

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

It looks like Juxtapoz threw up on my office.

KushTheKitten2 karma

I've been thinking about doing a documentary on the therapeutic benefits of Psilocybin mushrooms and was wondering if this seems like it'd be a worthwhile subject matter to explore. I'd also like to explore the recreational culture as well as the more historic and ceremonial practices involving them. Do you think there's a story there?

IamMorganSpurlock3 karma

Dude, I don't know if there's a story there, but making that movie sure is going to be fun.

natmundel2 karma

What are your thoughts on the state of financing for the indie documentarian? Industry financing? Grants? Socially conscious organizations?

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

I think the greatest thing that has happened to indiefilm is Kickstarter, or IndieGogo. I mean these 2 platforms have generated hundreds of millions of dollars for independent films. By empowering an audience to support the filmmaking process, they have created a process that is culture-changing, that is completely industry-shifting, to the point where crowd funding is a conversation. I can't tell you how many conversations where I go to network-level meetings where people bring that up.

BeerIsMyFriend2 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

Morgan, is there one project, or one idea you have always wanted to approach and document, but haven't? What is it and what stops you?

IamMorganSpurlock4 karma

We've been - knock on wood- really fortunate that we've never been in a position that we've never had to abandon a project. I know filmmaker friends of mine who have gotten years into projects, and then had to abandon them. There was one project I had to walk away from years ago, it was a long process and we were developing a movie about cancer and cancer research, it was something I was really passionate about and working on with Stanley Tucci, and it was very difficult to hammer out what story we would tell or direction we would go, and with everything I had going on it was just too much for me to focus on. So I had to basically walk away. So I think that was the only time I had to do that, but we hadn't shot anything. It was 1-2 years in development though.

BigBadMonster2 karma

Hi Morgan!

I watched your documentary Super Size Me a few years ago, and I can thank that movie for the reason why I have not ate at McDonald's in the last three years!

By the way, I wanted to ask if anyone you have ever known, or maybe even yourself, has ever compared you to Michael Moore. I have had a few friends and family who have, and I was curious if you if you were aware. There have been a few times where you have reminded me of Moore (only your films are much less controversial and more light hearted).

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

I don't mind when people compare me to Michael. I think that the one thing that he's done a great job of doing is turning his films into talking points. When he makes a movie, it becomes something that is part of an ongoing American or cultural conversation, and I think as filmmaker there is nothing you want more than that, and to get people thinking and talking, I mean, god forbid we start thinking.

pnoeric2 karma

Hey Morgan, long-time fan; I've seen all your stuff and am really enjoying Inside Man (the immigration episode was heartbreaking!). Will you be returning to feature-length docs at some point and/or do you have anything in the works now?

IamMorganSpurlock5 karma

We have a feature length doc that I'm hoping we will be able to announce very soon. But I can't tell you any more than that.

RKitch21122 karma

Hi Mr. Spurlock. Thanks for doing the AMA. "Super-Size Me" is probably my favorite documentary. My question is if you had to do the same test where you ate one fast food chain for 30 days again, which one would you pick?

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

I don't think I could do that experiment again. I don't think I could personally stomach doing that again.

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

what if I'm suddenly stuck in an airport like Tom Hanks? It depends on what airport. If I got stuck at La Guardia, I'd kill myself.

J_B_Grenouille2 karma

Hello Mr. Spurlock… Thank you for doing this AMA. Which of all of your documentary experiences affected you the most and why?

IamMorganSpurlock8 karma

I would say Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden was probably the project that affected me the most both personally and physically and emotionally, because it was over the course of that film that my son was born, and it was also over the course of that film that my marriage ended, and kind of made me start to re-evaluate what was really important in my life.

ICanTrimYourArmor1 karma

Hey Morgan! Just wanted to say my sociology/psychology/econ teacher loves you and your movies and we watch them all the time for educational purposes of course. I just wanted to ask you if you hire high school/college interns and if they have to have a direct interest in film and media? Thanks Morgan!

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

Why yes we do!

Email info@ warrior-poets.com

Wazowski1 karma

My facial hair doesn't grow right. There's nothing that connects my mustache to my goatee except bald skin, so I really have no choice but to go around clean-shaven. Is it wrong to blame all my personal and professional failures on this issue? How far would you have gotten in life clean-shaven?

IamMorganSpurlock3 karma

Not very far. Have you thought about investing in some sort of a hair transplant to the bald spots upon your lip or chin? This could be the secret to changing your life forever.

chillychar1 karma

When is the last time you went to McDonalds?

IamMorganSpurlock2 karma

March 2, 2003, probably around 7 PM in the evening.