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LIVE FROM...

Interview With Morgan Spurlock

Aired January 15, 2004 - 13:35   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: Just over a dozen documentary filmmakers covering everything from the war in Iraq to cow breeders are showing their wares at Sundance. One decided to get personally involved in his work. He wondered what would happen if he ate nothing but fast food for a month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN SPURLOCK, DOCUMENTARY MAKER: Can I get a -- an Egg McMuffin Extra Value Meal? Every 8-year-old's dream right now that I'm getting ready to fulfill.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O'BRIEN: And the film maker who lived the dream and ate nothing but biscuits, burgers, and fries for a month, usually SuperSized, Morgan Spurlock joins me now from Park City, Utah.

Morgan, first of all, how are you feeling after this? You did a solid month of this. How you feeling?

SPURLOCK: I feel a lot better now. It's been a long time, probably about nine months since I did that. I feel a lot better, believe me.

O'BRIEN: How much poundage did you put on?

SPURLOCK: I mean in one month in 30 days, I gained almost 30 pounds.

O'BRIEN: Wow.

SPURLOCK: I mean, it's pretty crazy. Yes, a lot -- a lot of weight.

O'BRIEN: Take us back and give us -- where this idea came from. Because it is -- it's an odd one and yet it does tell a story maybe a lot of people should be listening to.

SPURLOCK: Well, I mean, it's a very pertinent film. You can't turn on TV without seeing news about it. A year ago, I was sitting on my mom's coach, Thanksgiving, West Virginia, watching CNN, as you were talking about the kids who filed lawsuits against McDonald's in New York.

Lawyer, spokesmen for the food companies were coming forward saying, Listen, you can't link the food to the kids being sick, to the kids being overweight. Our food is nutritious.

And so I was like if that's true, realistically, I should be able to eat your food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 30 days straight with no ill side effects. That was kind of the launching pad of the movie.

And from there it's really turned into a huge exploration of just the whole epidemic.

O'BRIEN: So from that you just kind of picked up the phone with a with buddy of yours, who's your director of photography, and off to the races you went. Did he laugh at first and say it's silly, or did he think it was a good idea?

SPURLOCK: He said -- he laughed at me. He said, that's a really great-bad idea. And throughout the whole film-making process, we agreed. We said, this is a really great-bad idea.

And, the worst I felt, believe me, the worst it got.

O'BRIEN: There's a hint of Michael Moore in your premise here. And I'm not talking about girth, I'm just talking about the idea.

(LAUGHTER)

O'BRIEN: First-person stuff. Is he one of your documentary heroes?

SPURLOCK: I think -- I think Michael Moore is a fantastic filmmaker. You know, people have started to compare the film to that. Anybody compares this movie to Michael Moore, what an honor. It is a privilege. And I hope, you know, people enjoy it.

O'BRIEN: "Big Mac and Me" you could have called it.

SPURLOCK: Big Mac, exactly.

O'BRIEN: Let's look at a clip. This is part of a weigh-in, I think. Let's watch it for a second.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred ninety-five pounds.

SPURLOCK: It can't be. We have to redo this.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's zero.

SPURLOCK: I think it's zeroed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Second try. Eighty-eight, 92, 94.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You gained actually about 5 percent of your body weight.

(END VIDEO CLIP) O'BRIEN: All right, 5 percent outright gain. How was the cholesterol level through all of this?

SPURLOCK: Oh, my cholesterol level just went through the roof. I mean, there's so much just fat in this food and my body -- it just couldn't take it. My body just -- it went into shock immediately.

O'BRIEN: When you watch it, do you lose your appetite? I don't mean just you, all of us. Will we lose our appetites?

SPURLOCK: I think that it definitely will make you think twice before you walk in and get yourself a burger and fries. Believe me, it's been a while since I've had one.

O'BRIEN: And after all that you have eaten, from burgers to -- of course you can't miss the apple pie that they thrust upon you.

SPURLOCK: The whole gamut, we ate everything.

O'BRIEN: What was the best single item you had?

SPURLOCK: Big Macs, man. Big Macs are the greatest thing on the menu.

O'BRIEN: The old standby.

SPURLOCK: They're so good, you can't stop it. They're great. They taste so good.

O'BRIEN: Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.

(CROSSTALK)

SPURLOCK: That's it. A little bit of heaven right there.

O'BRIEN: Are you proud...

(CROSSTALK)

O'BRIEN: Are you proud of the film and the reaction you're getting to it?

SPURLOCK: I tell you what, I'm very proud of this movie. We all worked so hard to make this. We came in wanting to make something that would somehow make a difference. It's fun, entertaining. But underneath it all, there is a very strong message that I am very proud of.

SPURLOCK: Is your next documentary going to be on the Atkins diet? Is that it?

SPURLOCK: We'll have to wait and see. Maybe. I could use it.

O'BRIEN: Morgan Spurlock, enjoy the festival. Good luck with your career. Good to meet you. SPURLOCK: Thank you very much, Miles, thank you.

O'BRIEN: All right, take care.

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