Morgan Spurlock Interview
Morgan Spurlock Interview
I interviewed probably 75 to 80 people – not one of them said, 'Man, I sure miss all those billboards.' You know, there were people that were like, 'Once you get rid of the billboards there's going to be economic collapse! The city's going to fall apart!' But you know what happened once they got rid of the billboards? Absolutely nothing. People still woke up the next day and they still knew where to buy pants, they still knew where to get a new car. Because nobody got rid of television advertising, that was still there. Nobody got rid of radio advertising, that was still there. There's still more advertising on computers than there ever has been and that's where they decided to keep engaging people. And the most interesting thing that's happened since then is that crime has gone down in the city since the Clean City Act has been passed. What does that say about our society that once they got rid of the outdoor advertising, crime went down?
It's extraordinary.

Morgan Spurlock

It's extraordinary.
Can you see it catching on?

Morgan Spurlock

God, wouldn't that be amazing? If anything were to come out of this film, there's two things I'd love to happen. I would love to see a couple of other cities try the Clean City Act, to say, 'We're going to do the same thing, we're going to eliminate outdoor advertising in our cities.' It would be remarkable and I would love to see that happen.
Were you surprised about how open the filmmakers were that you spoke to, like Peter Berg, for example?

Morgan Spurlock

Amazing. I think it shows you that once you reach a certain level of success as a director, I think you can really speak your mind. I tried to get A-list actors to go on camera and talk to us and I could not get one A-list actor to sit down and talk about, a scene where they had to hold that can next to their face or pull up in the car or say a line of dialogue about a shoe. I couldn't get one person to talk to us. Because I think there's a tremendous level of judgement that goes around actors that's very different from a director. But yeah, his candidness, his candour, I applaud those guys. For Peter Berg to be so blunt and honest and basically lay it out and say, 'Listen, these guys don't give a fuck about art, they want to make money, it's a business,' – I love that guy.
Listen, these guys don't give a fuck about art, they want to make money, it's a business...
How did you get your first big break?

Morgan Spurlock

In the film industry? I think the first big break I got was right out of college. I was working as an intern at the Tribeca Film Centre, which was Robert De Niro's film production building, so there were tonnes of different productions working in there. Every day I kept pestering one of the productions, by Eric McGinty, called Leon, which was Luc Besson's film. It was my first film set, and I got access to so many great people. It really gave me a great insight into the process and the reality of filmmaking, as there I am with my college degree in filmmaking, thinking I was going to go out and make films straight away, and here I was, shovelling horse shit from the police horses that rode through the shot. The best thing that happened to me was getting on that movie right out of college.
Have you ever had an idea that you haven't been able to get started?

Morgan Spurlock

That's the great thing that's really happened in the last few years - I've been afforded the ability to go after a number of things we haven't been able to do. There's a show called A Day in the Life, which I've been trying to do for years. It's for a web service called Hulu in the US. There's another idea called The Failure Club, which we're now doing for Yahoo, which will air later on this year. There's ideas that I've wanted to do that we've chipped away at, but nothing really dies with our company. It has to really die a hard death for us to give up on it. There's a couple things we keep trying ... Post-Super Size Me and Where in the World, I've been fortunate to keep making the shows I want to make, which is incredible.
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