Morgan Spurlock sells out

Morgan Spurlock shills for his many sponsors while promoting his documentary about product placement, “POM?Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” in theaters now.

As part of the school of documentary filmmakers who prefer to insert themselves into their films, Morgan Spurlock has found a new way to become the test subject of his own experiment. This time, it’s much less harmful to his health than what he did in his breakout film, “Super Size Me,” in which he documented the effects of eating only McDonald’s food for 30 days.

Now, Spurlock is risking his artistic integrity by opening himself up for product placement promotions with “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” or, sorry, “POM Wonderful Presents: The Best Movie Ever Sold.” POM Wonderful, a pomegranate juice company, was his largest sponsor.

The bulk of the film is spent exploring the process of landing sponsors for the film. Once those sponsors are landed, Spurlock consumes the products onscreen and goes as far as to have three commercials inserted into the film. He even gives Ralph Nader a pair of Merrell shoes (yes, another sponsor). In our interview, he manages to sneak in a few flattering comments about those sponsors.

Sounds a bit sleazy to some, but Spurlock defends the film’s integrity.

“We retained creative control of the movie so I think that enabled us to be free to make the movie we wanted to make,” he explains. “Was that film free of compromise and not having to acquiesce to sponsor requests? Absolutely not.”

In the film, some of the advertising executives and potential sponsors wonder out loud if a film exploring the process of putting products in a film would be interesting at all, but with fast-talking Spurlock, things never seem to get boring.

“What I think makes the film so great is that you start to see how the sausage is made,” he says. “To have that captured in real time in a movie about the movie that’s being made while you’re actually watching it is pretty incredible.”

Surprisingly, McDonald’s didn’t bite

“To make a blockbuster, you’ve got to have a fast food partner,” Spurlock says. “I really wanted In and Out Burger to do this, but we couldn’t convince. Of course, we called McDonald’s but they didn’t call back. Taco Bell, no. Wendy’s, no. All the way down the line. But you’ve got to leave something open for the sequel.”

Heidi Patalano is at Tribeca all throughout the festival, bringing you updates, reviews and interviews. Follow her on Twitter at @HeidiatMetro.


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…


Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…


Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.


Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…


Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…