Morgan Valentine Spurlock is an American filmmaker, humorist, producer, screenwriter, playwright and political activist, best known for the documentary film Super Size Me (2004).
Spurlock was born in Parkersburg, West Virginia, and was raised in Beckley, West Virginia. His parents, Phyllis and Ben Spurlock, raised him as a Methodist. He has said he is of Scots-Irish and English descent.
Spurlock was educated at Woodrow Wilson High School, a public high school in the city of Beckley, West Virginia, followed by New York University, from which he graduated in 1993. He is a member of the fraternity Phi Gamma Delta.
He performed stand-up in both New York and Los Angeles.
Before making the 2004 Academy Award nominated documentary Super Size Me, Spurlock was a playwright, winning awards for his play The Phoenix at both the New YorkInternational Fringe Festival in 1999, and the Route 66 American Playwriting Competition in 2000.
Super Size Me launched Spurlock into the mainstream spotlight, after the documentary allegedly showed frightening and damaging effects fast food had on health, the economy and wildlife.
The backlash aimed at fast food restaurant McDonalds was so immense the company was forced to make significant changes to how their products were advertised and distributed to customers.
In 2013, Spurlock created the series I Bet You Will for MTV, which began as a popular Internet webcast of five-minute episodes featuring ordinary people doing stunts in exchange for money. The webcast was a success, with over a million hits in the first five days. MTV later bought and aired the show.
Spurlock helped distribute A Brony Tale, a documentary directed by Brent Hodge on the brony phenomenon and on the musician and voice acting career of Ashleigh Ball.
The film is premeired July 8, 2014. Spurlock collaborated with Hodgee Films on the 2015 series Consider the Source, in association with Disney's Maker Studios. In 2016, he was the executive producer of the Kazakh-language British-Mongolian-American documentary film The Eagle Huntress.
This Is Us
In 2012, Spurlock was originally approached by Paramount Pictures to produce a documentary film about Justin Bieber. He was unable to participate due to his involvement in another project, and also turned down an offer to produce the Katy Perry docu-film for similar reasons.
Finally, he was offered the chance to produce a One Direction documentary and accepted the offer. Spurlock said his aim was to stick to the documentary format in order to provide more viewer accessibility, stating the Perry and Bieber films felt too much like movies. Spurlock explained it took a while for One Direction to warm up to him, stating:
"All the guys were reluctant in the beginning. When I had my very first meeting with them, I told them, “Here’s what I expect and want from this movie…for it to be successful, we have to have access of your lives, families, things you may not want to show. What we don’t want to do is edit ourselves while we’re shooting – let’s just go for it!”
I asked them what they personally wanted out of this film and they said that they want the “fans to understand how we work and all that goes into it. We want fans to see us for who we are. You see their humble beginnings and their supportive families."
Spurlock stated the reason no girlfriends are included in the film was because a break-up occurred during filming, and he didn't want to document relationships that may not last. Filming took place in late 2012 and early 2013, in locations such as Japan, England, Ireland, Scotland and New York.
Spurlock has two sons. The oldest, Laken James Spurlock, was born on December 9, 2006. His birth is depicted in Spurlock's documentary Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?, which Spurlock dedicated to Laken. The youngest, Kallen Marcus Spurlock, was born on May 22, 2016.
Although he was raised Methodist, Spurlock stated in an interview with TV Guide in 2014 that he is now agnostic.
- This Is Us — direction, production