Exclusive Interview with Movie Director Morgan Spurlock of One Direction: This is Us

One Direction MovieOn August 30th, 2013, One Direction (1D) fans can see their favorite boy band members up close and personal on screens across America in One Direction: This is Us

Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis share the inside scoop on their sudden rise to fame, blowing away their own expectations and stretching their dreams beyond the imaginations of their families, friends and themselves.sup

In a private phone interview, Director Morgan Spurlock shared a few of his thoughts with me during his visit to Philadelphia this last week. Spurlock is known for his films Super Size Me and Freakonomics, among others. This movie was the next big step in fulfilling his own dreams as a film director.

Q: Tell me about the movie from your point of view, as the director. What message do you want to see come out of this film?

A: I want people to see these guys for who they really are, to get a sense of their lives and what they go through.

I think a lot of people think that there’s not a lot of work that goes into being in a band like this or that they don’t work hard for what they have. These are five guys who work incredibly hard every day and not only that are five guys very talented guys who were fortunate enough to be put together.

Q: You have done some heavy hitters [thought-provoking films] like Super Size Me and Freakonomics. What about this particular script appealed to you?

A: For me, it was the opportunity to make a film with a studio. We made this movie with Sony Columbia TriStar which was very exciting for me to make the jump into making a studio movie. It was by far the biggest budget on a film that I have ever gotten to work with. I got to work with technology I would never normally get to make a movie with.

Getting to make a movie in 3D is incredible and then to get to have access to these five guys, to a band arguably one of the biggest bands in the world right now who are still kind of exploding in their success and to get to be there and to be the fly on the wall and tell their story is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Q. I see that Simon Cowell is on this project and he’s been going through a lot lately. Do you think he would ask you to make a documentary of his life?

A. {Laughs} I don’t think Simon will ever let anyone make that movie. Whether or not they make it without his consent, that’s something else.

Q. In addition to your documentary work, are you interested in doing fiction?

A. . . . There’s been a bunch of [fiction-based] projects I have been attached over the years — one in particular over at Appian Way [Productions] which is Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company for the last four years and so out of this film what I am hoping for is the chance to do some bigger even more exciting, even more traditional movies.

Q: If there’s one hero you have had in this industry, who would it be?

A. There are so many filmmakers that I admire. If I look at filmmakers who have had such incredible diverse careers, I look at Ang Lee who is just a master. The guy can do anything. The guy can do drama. . . comedy. . . huge-genre special effects laden movies. The guy is a mega talent.

I love folks like Frank Capra. Some of his All-American films were some of the greatest inspirations during my life as a kid. Spielberg, as a child growing up, I don’t think you can be a child growing up in America without having gone to see multiple Steven Spielberg movies.

Q: When did you decide film was a medium you wanted to work with?

A: Ever since I was a kid, I fell in love with movies since I was very young at probably four or five-years-old and all I ever wanted to do was to make movies. All I ever wanted to do was to work in entertainment. It’s all I’ve ever seen in my life as being the end goal.

Q: Do you have any other family members in the entertainment business?

A: No, I don’t have any other family in the industry. I grew up in West Virginia, about as far from the industry as you can grow up but I had two amazing parents who were really supportive of me wanting to be an artist.

Q: Going back to the One Direction movie, how do you look at a story like this and know there’s a story there to tell and determine what the best story to tell is?

A: You always want to have some sort of framework to start from. With any documentary film, once you start shooting, any idea of what you thought the movie was going to be about gets thrown out the window but we start any movie with a basic outline of here’s what, if everybody in the world had unicorns and leprechauns, here’s what the movie would be.

But, for me, this movie mostly boiled down to two things: this is a film that’s about dreams and about family and that’s the heart of the movie. That was the heart of the idea when we first pitched the film and when I first met with the band and when you watch the film today that’s still the essence of the movie. I think the essence of the movie still boils down to dreams and family.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers [and movie goers]?

A: One of the things I love about this film, and I know fathers who have taken their daughters and mothers who gone with their daughters, is that it is such a family-friendly film . . .  It’s an incredibly fun film. There’s really great family values that come out these boys. They work hard, they stay humble. There are good messages instilled into them by their own families.

The viewing experience you have of seeing this film with a child is a valuable one.

(Thank you, Morgan Spurlock, for coming to Philadelphia and sharing about the movie and YOUR story!)

Trailer to the movie: