Morgan Spurlock, director of the new documentary, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold.
Morgan Spurlock is a whirling dervish. Wearing a sharp black suit littered with product placement logos which make him look like the upscale version of a Nascar racer, Spurlock walks in with his fingers furiously tapping out messages on his phone.
"We're in post on the Comic-Con movie right now so I’m communicating with people in New York while we’re doing this," he explains convivially, referring to his upcoming documentary about the annual geekfest in San Diego, as he puts his phone down and turns his attention to the subject at hand, "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," his incredibly meta latest effort. It's a film about product placement and co-branding, unabashedly brought to you by companies such as Pom Wonderful and Jet Blue. It's that kind of thoughtfully subversive commentary that's made Spurlock a star in the realms of independent and documentary filmmaking, though he swears there's no method to his madness.
"I remember when M. Night Shyamalan first made 'The Sixth Sense,' he said, 'I have the formula for success. I know the secret to make hit movies.' Which apparently didn't last," he says with a grin. "I don't think you can claim that there's something that's the golden egg. For me, what I think has helped my projects work is that I'm willing to let my guard down and be honest with the viewer."
That brand of revealing, thought-provoking yet irreverently humorous filmmaking has won over audiences who might not normally consider themselves documentary fans.
"I think we're constantly fighting this PBS stigma. PBS ruined it for everybody," Spurlock decrees. "Ultimately they painted a view of what documentaries were, so you're fighting this idea that they're not entertaining, that they're not great movies. I want to make films for a larger audience. When people go to see a movie on a Friday night, I don't want my film to be their fourth choice, I want it to be their first choice."
As one of the posterchildren for independent moviemaking, Spurlock admits that state of Indie film isn’t as rosy as it was a decade ago, but when asked his advice for the next generation of Spurlocks he says, "I think the key to success, at least for me, is forward momentum. If you're going to be an independent filmmaker you can't just sit around and pat yourself on the back and say, 'Boy, that was a great one.' You have to be in motion."
With that, Spurlock immediately grabs his Blackberry and makes a call that begins with the word "Comic-Con." On to the next thing...
"The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" opens in select theaters April 22.