Four Quick Questions for Morgan Spurlock

Documaker talks CNN's 'Celebrity,' immersive storytelling and sticky situations

Morgan Spurlock
Brian Finke for Variety

Morgan Spurlock’s “Inside Man” returned to CNN April 13. The “Super Size Me” filmmaker embedded himself with paparazzi in the opening hour, “Celebrity.”

Did the guys in “Celebrity” change your perspective at all?

You realize it’s not so easy just to put all paparazzi in (one) bag. There are paparazzi who respect people’s privacy. … And then there are guys who try to get reactions out of people, who chase them down the highway.

What’s the best term to describe your documentary filmmaking?

Immersive storytelling. I just want to give people a window into a world they normally wouldn’t get, by putting myself into these situations.

Do you worry at all that this is inevitably going to be wedded with the “Jackass” impulse, and someone  getting hurt?

That’s always a possibility. There were times when we got into sticky situations. The wakeup call for me was having a kid. That’s shifted how much risk I will actually take.

What would you say to news purists who wonder about CNN branching out into series?

News purists should also like documentaries. Longform investigative journalism is dead on television. The “Frontlines” and “60 Minutes” are few and far between today. What these (documentaries) do is bridge the gap.