The Greatest Interview Ever Given (starring Morgan Spurlock)

With the release of The Greatest Movie Ever Sold this week, the advertising industry will be holding its breath. It is the wide-spread return of wild-man documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who took his camera lens through the mayhem of marketing for a period of two years. Audiences will see the docu-star get turned down by companies based on his “look” or his “brand appeal.” Eventually, Spurlock courts the right companies into signing up for what’s shaped up to be an interesting discussion piece for those running the industry and those who are targeted by those companies: us.

Mr. Spurlock graciously sat down with the Quad to discuss advertising, Mane N’ Tail, the island of Aruba, his upcoming projects, and documentary collector cups. Let the obscene amount of salesman pitching begin.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a lot more edgy than the trailers and posters make it seem.

The Greatest Suit Ever Sponsored for The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. | Photo by Monica Castillo.

Morgan Spurlock is a relatively young director who burst onto the scene with the groundbreaking Super-Size Me. For his third full-length feature film, he puts his career on the line to teach the audience a little bit about the advertising industry. “The film does a great job of ripping up this world of advertising and marketing, and getting them to pay for it. The ultimate take away sits with you and you see advertising in a very different way.”

Morgan Spurlock re-teamed with co-writer Jeremy Chilnick to make the challenging movie happen. “I think  the movie shows the daily impact of marketing and advertising on our  world. We start to see it creeping into schools now, where school districts around the country are letting advertisers come in to make up their school budget.” One of his biggest issues is the premise of the Channel 1 program in schools. The company outfits each classroom with a television for free, so long as teachers turn on their shows during the morning for their students to watch. Yes, there may be news and special interest stories, but the majority of what is shown are advertisements. “Channel 1 has been doing this for the past 20 years. Under the guise of news stories, they are literally selling really expensive commercial time to companies.”

“The movie is supposed to open the door and ask people where do we draw the line. One thing that just happened in New York is now they’re selling off the naming rights of subways, parks, and playgrounds. Where do we say no? Do you want to take your kid to the Pepsi playground or the Twinkie Hostess slide?”

The movie took about two years to film, but it was nine months until their first brand sponsor, the deodorant brand Ban, signed on.  “They still call and they still take my calls which is totally fine. There have been a couple people who have called and ask, ‘Why didn’t you talk about us in that interview?’ Guys, I got 23 sponsors, I can’t talk about all 23 people in an interview. That’s the reason why I got the suit, and I don’t have to talk about 23 brands-they’re all on the suit. You’re all here, with me all the time”

Spurlock needed a theme song to accompany The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. “We reached out to people we liked and who we thought could do this interesting anthem. When I flew to meet them, I met them here in Boston. I came up had a meeting, showed them a cut of the film. And they said ‘Let us think about it.’ But then I wanted to interview them for the film, so I met them in Denver. So while we were on camera, I asked them if they would be willing to do the anthem. They said yes, so that was exciting. So, from that moment on, we were making ‘The Greatest Song You Ever Heard.’ I love the ending of that song, ‘We solved all our problems with bigger problems.’ It’s so poignant.”

Mr. Spurlock shook off the majority of questions pertaining to his next highly-anticipated documentary on Comic-Con. And it pains me to say it readers, but we will not see Morgan Spurlock in a Princess Leia outfit. He is purely behind the camera on this one. Needless to say, he has a pretty large built-in following for that release. But back on television and after three seasons of his FX series, 30 Days, Spurlock confirmed that there were television projects in the works. “We have a show, which we just sold to HBO. It will be a scripted drama and we’re doing that with Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana who worked on Brokeback Mountain. He also wrote The Last Picture Show and Hud. I mean, this guy’s a Hollywood legend. The goal for me is to have a series on air by the fall.” So stay tuned, folks!

As for the silver screen, Spurlock is working on a Comic-Con documentary. As to when we’ll see it? “As soon as its finished” was his cheeky answer. “I think it’s little historical, but its mostly where it’s at now and the impact it has on the industry. We follow seven people and we show this epicenter of pop culture through their eyes.” Also, he’s not in the film for a single frame. “I should be in this movie, but I’ll be like, Boba Fett number seven and I just walk through the frame in like a Boba Fett costume. I wanted to do that”

Finally, and most importantly, I asked about the Sheetz collector cups featured in the movie. Spurlock developed the idea to have the first-ever documentary movie collector cups to be sold out of the Sheetz chain. “The official cups are now just being sent out to stores. They just got them printed, and they’re going out to stores. So, I will make sure that I have my four collector cups. We gotta have them in the kitchen, and we gotta have them in the office. So when people walk in, we have the collector’s cups there.”

About Monica Castillo

Monica Castillo (CAS '11) is a Film writer for the Quad. Drawn into the world of film studies accidentally, she's continued on writing, writing, and writing about film since. She also co-writes on another blog,, which is about even geekier film stuff. If you have the time, she would love to watch a movie with you.

View all posts by Monica Castillo →

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