Morgan Spurlock talks about “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”

 

Supersize Me star sells out

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No Big Macs this time.

Morgan Spurlock chose a different poison for Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, out Friday: pomegranate juice.

The California company paid for the rights to have top billing in his latest documentary, which dissects the world of product placement. For their million bucks, Pom bigs got to see Spurlock drink only their beverage in the film, with all other brands blurred out.

You may feel a little thirsty when the end credits start rolling — and that’s the point. The 40-year-old West Virginia native, whose 2004’s Supersize Me, in which Spurlock ate only McDonald’s for one month, wants to jam down Americans’ throats how pervasively insidious today’s advertising is.

The former star of TV’s hot button 30 Days, was in town to (naturally) hype the movie. The New York-based filmmaker wore a NASCAR-type jacket, displaying dozens of other companies that participated. Pretty funny, or not, depending how you view mass marketing.

Why did you decide to do this movie?

My producing partner [ Jeremy Chilnick] and I discussed how we had started seeing all the blatant product placement in movies and TV, to a point where people are actually talking about it, they weren’t trying to hide it anymore. We thought it was a great idea to pull back the curtain. Not everyone agreed with us.

So you got turned down by a lot of possible advertisers?

About 500 or so brands didn’t like the concept. People are afraid. This is the movie no ad agency wants you to see. It tells you how the sausage gets made. Ban deodorant was the first company to say yes and gave us $50,000, but at the outset we were burning our own cash to get this thing off the ground.

What do see happening with advertising? Is it going to get even more in your face?

At one point there will be only one giant brand that owns everything. We’re gonna live in a giant Wal-Mart world. We’ll get our clothes there, see our doctor there, get our gas there. You’ll hear, ‘I had my baby on aisle 7!

Who are your biggest influences?

People like to slag Michael Moore and throw him under the bus. But he laid down a foundation and got the dialogue started. You want to create a moment when something matters.

Is there anything you wouldn’t do in the pursuit of truth?

When I did [2008’s] Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? I was visiting some of the most dangerous places in the world and [ex wife] Alex was pregnant at the time. I would never put myself in that situation again. A level of mortality set in once I was introduced to my son [Laken, 4].

Do you ever eat at McDonald’s?

Never. I don’t go to any of those chains. To this day, if I smell a Big Mac my mouth will start watering like Pavlov’s dog. But if I eat it, I just taste chemicals. The French fries taste just like burnt plastic.

Madeleine Marr

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