Morgan Spurlock, who sucked the joy out of Happy Meals, is now taking aim at the rest of society’s ills. Great.
Empowered by the success of his documentary Super Size Me, which exposed the deep-fried evils of the fast food industry, director and do-gooder Morgan Spurlock is about to take on a whole host of societal ills in his new FX show, 30 Days. In his Oscar-nominated documentary, Spurlock subjected himself to the ravages of perpetual Big Mac consumption; on his show he subjects himself and a few possibly insane volunteers to a variety of life-altering regimens, like constant binge-drinking and, shocking though it may seem, living under the same roof with…gay people! All this, he says, is in the service of making the world a better place. But can one person really be this altruistic? On a recent too early morning, we set out to find a smidgen of darkness hidden in the heart of Morgan Spurlock.
RADAR: Please explain what’s up with the 5:15 a.m. interview? I’m dying here.
MORGAN SPURLOCK: I’m normally an early riser. I can’t sleep late. And this is just such an exciting time for me, you know?
What did you eat yesterday? Be honest.
Last night we were shooting at a drive-thru burger joint, but I just couldn’t do it. I walked a block down the street to a Thai restaurant and got vegetable stir-fry.
Are you saying you never, ever eat fast food anymore? I don’t buy it.
Look, I love a good burger. But I live in the East Village in New York, so I’m fortunate — everywhere you look there’s great Mexican and Italian food you can get fast. So I do have “fast food,” but not chain fast food.
But of course you’d never be able to resist my favorite, the Taco Bell Bean Burrito?
Let’s just say I’ve known too many people who have worked at Taco Bell. I can’t do it anymore.
Okay, stop. Please don’t ruin the Bean Burrito for me. I understand you live with your fiancée, Alex, the vegan chef we met in Super Size Me. Doesn’t that get oppressive for a carnivore like yourself?
Alex is an amazing cook. I love what she prepares. And I love her.
But you’re never tempted to slip some bacon bits into her tofu scramble?
If I want to keep living with her I have to keep things copacetic, you know. I love bacon. Bacon is fantastic. But I’m not frying it up in the house.
Wasn’t that new Oscar format weird? I mean, you had to stand up onstage, lose the award, and smile while the winners made their acceptance speeches.
When I first heard about the whole Miss America–style thing at the Academy Awards I thought it was going to be terrible. But afterward I started thinking it was actually a good thing.
It gives people who would never be seen onscreen a chance to be up there. Before, they’d never even show the faces of the documentary filmmakers or the costume designers — they’d just cut to the famous people.
In the first episode of 30 Days, you and your fiancée move to Ohio and try to live on minimum wage for a month. Fun?
Not really. It put a real strain on our relationship. I had to work two jobs at a time, and by the time we saw each other again, we were physically exhausted and mentally drained. It’s no surprise there are twice as many divorces among people who make less than $25,000 a year than among people who make $50,000.
It must be hard to cook elaborate vegan dishes on minimum wage.
Alex was a blessing. She was able to cook up these amazing meals with rice and beans and veggies for just $35 a week. Sometimes we’d get free stuff from food pantries, but a lot of what you get is this really junky, sugar-filled food that has calories but no nutritional value.
So that’s week one. How are you going to follow that?
For the second show we followed a guy who used to be a great athlete but had let himself go a bit, and we put him on a 30-day anti-aging regimen, with steroids and human growth hormones. It’s incredible to see how it affects him and his family. You hear the word steroids and you immediately think of baseball players, but there are millions of Americans taking this stuff.
That rather long mustache you have: Is it a relic from your West Virginia upbringing?
I guess. It stems from my inner redneck. That’s why I can pull it off.
Any other redneck symptoms?
Other than the loads of fresh squirrel meat in my freezer?
So you get up before sunrise, limit your intake of bacon, and spend your days fighting poverty and steroid use. Some might call you a goody two-shoes. Please tell me you have one vice.