Has Morgan Spurlock, director of Super Size Me, sold out making a film about the boy band? Cath Clarke finds out.
He risked his health, eating nothing but McDonald’s meals for a month for the documentary Super Size Me in 2004. He went on the hunt for the world’s most wanted man in Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden? in 2008. For his new film One Direction: This Is Us, Morgan Spurlock went on tour with the boy band. Nothing risky there, you might think – just lashings of cheeky backstage antics and heart-to-hearts. But he’s still got to reckon with the verdict of the sort of crazy devoted fans who attacked men’s magazine GQ over a recent cover interview. Is Spurlock ready?
Are you worried about receiving death threats over your film?
Those tweets were amazing. Hell hath no fury like a 12-year-old Directioner. I think we’re fine. I’ve made a film the fans won’t be too angry about.
You got liver damage eating junk food for Super Size Me. Got any long-term side effects from going on tour with One Direction?
I’ve dreamt about One Direction every night for about seven months. Just last night I woke up – it happened again! This time we were in a van, and had to get to a gig. Every night.
Describe the band in three words
Fun, unpredictable, humble.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about the boys?
There’s a few. That they have no talent. That they make millions of dollars without doing any work – they work fantastically hard on the road. And I think people love to think that when you get successful you become an idiot. Which couldn’t be further from the truth with these guys.
You’ve made films about the evils of fast food and Bin Laden. Now One Direction. Has anyone referred to you as a sell-out?
I’m not selling out, I’m buying in! There’s a difference. Ninety-nine percent of my friends are like: ‘Why would you not make that movie?’ It’s not going to stop me from taking the mickey next time.
So you’re not crossing over to the dark side, then?
One Direction are not the dark side. People love to say it’s pop music that’s destroying the music business. Digital media destroyed the music business. Not these five kids. I actually think that there happens to be a million reasons to make this movie.
To see the launch of this global phenomenon. It’s their first world tour and we were there. I thought that was a good, compelling story to tell. This movie’s going to be seen on more screens and by more people in more countries than have seen all my films combined.
So, it’s an ego trip?
Yeah! But I make movies to be seen.
You let Simon Cowell off with a light grilling. Were you not tempted to go in harder?
No. The best thing about Simon Cowell is that when the cameras switch off, he’s exactly Simon Cowell. He really tells you what he thinks. There’s no filter with Simon.
We meet One Direction’s mums, but not their partners. Is that so 12-year-olds can carrying on believing Zayn hearts them?
No! Early on, I was like: they’re 19 to 21. For me, it was about the relationship of the guys.
You didn’t edit out Taylor Swift?
All this crazy stuff gets printed. The story came out: Harry Styles demands Morgan Spurlock take Taylor Swift out of the movie. We never even shot Taylor Swift. They were all broken up before we ever started filming.
We never see the band bicker...
That’s because they don’t. Any time anything flares up, it’s over in seconds. Nipped in the bud. When you’re on the road for so long you can’t let things fester. They all realised that early.
Who’s your favourite? Harry?
I love them all equally.
Is it in your contract to say that?
No it’s not! It should have been.
One Direction: This Is Us is in cinemas across Dubai.