Morgan Spurlock, star and producer of “Super Size Me” and “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden,” conveyed to a Lincoln Center audience Tuesday night stories of his struggles and accomplishments throughout his career.
Spurlock kicked off the seven-month long series Thought Leaders, presented by the local organization Beet Street, which will bring celebrities to the community said Carol Bennis, executive director of Beet Street.
“We try to invite speakers who have a unique perspective or people who challenge perspectives and see things in a different way to reach all the different commonalities in the community,” Bennis said, who added that she believes the series will entertain all Fort Collins residents, including CSU students.
Spurlock is most notably known for his challenging films and TV shows, putting people into situations in which they normally would not be.
“My goal is to get people to make up their own minds. I don’t like being told what to do, so I am not going to try to tell people what to do. I want to present people with an idea and information and let them make their own interpretation of it and take their own ideas away,” Spurlock said.
He challenges people to look at what is going on around them with his films and his reality television show, often putting his health and liberties in danger to do so.
“I am very inspired by his work, and I came to the event to find out how I can follow in his footsteps,” CSU graduate student Jessica Teem said.
Spurlock graduated from the University of New York in 1993 with a film degree, working many jobs after college, including announcing the beach volleyball event during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
The idea for “Super Size Me” came to Spurlock after eating Thanksgiving dinner while watching the news, where he saw a story about two girls trying to sue McDonalds for making them obese.
According to Spurlock, he confronted McDonalds because America has franchised out a certain way of eating and living, and to make a change, the leaders must be singled out.
“It’s not just the food industry that’s to blame for obesity; there is just a certain skill set that’s been lost in our country,” Spurlock said. “Cooking is no longer a priority, and we have to make healthy priorities. I am a strong believer in personal responsibility.”
Before shooting the film, Spurlock had collected nearly $250,000 in debt after attempting to produce the show “I Bet You Will.” The crew of the film was forced to work for free.
“When I look back at everything that lead up to ‘Super Size Me,’ I feel grateful for all the people that stuck by me,” Spurlock said.
Spurlock’s show “30 Days” spawned from his screening of “Super Size Me,” when he said he decided to encourage people to step into some one else’s shoes for 30 days to gain a new perspective on life.
“You can’t just put anyone out there. You want someone that’s really brave and wants to put themselves out there, but be open at the same time,” Spurlock said.
He participated in four different episodes, including shows where he lived on minimum wage, worked as a coal miner, lived in prison and lived on a Navajo reservation.
He said all of these incredible experiences were life changing and gave him new perspectives overall.
“It was an incredible experience to get to see what other people in the world go through on a daily basis and to have to think about things differently,” Spurlock said.
“I’ve met a ton of really incredible people.”
Staff writer Jessica Cline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.