Goodbye to Morgan Spurlock, the director of “Super Size Me”. He declared “war” on McDonald's


By John

A sad day for Hollywood: Morgan Spurlock, the documentary maker who 20 years ago put his health at risk in a battle against fast food in McDonald's America, has died of cancer at 53.

The filmmaker's brother, Craig Spurlock, who had been a close collaborator of Morgan, broke the news of the death. In Super Size Me, the 2004 film that made him famous, the filmmaker documented the physical and psychological consequences of having fed himself every day for a month on Big Mac sandwiches in the Super Size format which also included, among other, almost two liters of Coca Cola.

Spurlock had also reduced his exercise levels to match that of the average American. At the end of the experiment the documentary maker had gained a dozen kilos, suffered from depression and liver problems. The film had a profound influence on the fast food debate and is still used as an educational tool in American middle schools and high schools.

In a career spanning two decades, Spurlock has made around seventy documentaries: among the themes, the war in Afghanistan with Where In The World Is Osama bin Laden?; the minimum wage for US workers in 30 Days, consumer susceptibility to marketing campaigns (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold); and corporate pressure on family farming (Holy Chicken).

Important social projects completed, before the #meToo movement had led him to accuse himself of incorrect behavior towards his partners and work colleagues, thanks to the notoriety achieved with Super Size Me, best director award at Sundance 2004 and candidate for 'Oscar in 2005, taken from the volume “Don't eat this book” published in Italy by Fandango.

The idea came to Spurlock in 2002, on Thanksgiving Day. The filmmaker had seen a report on TV about two girls who had sued McDonald's for their obesity. A convinced vegetarian, Morgan then decided to act as a guinea pig: that is, to undergo the McDonald's diet after being found in perfect health by a nutritionist, a gastroenterologist and a cardiologist.

The results of three fast food meals a day for an entire month were soon seen and on the twentieth day the cardiologist had in vain urged him to give up and in any case to rush to the hospital immediately in case of chest pain.

The documentary was a shock for the country, which was already struggling with an obesity epidemic with heavy repercussions on national health spending: with 22 million dollars in global receipts, compared to a production cost of 65 thousand dollars, Super Size Me it was difficult to digest for McDonald's which was forced to abolish the Super Size format from its menus with its frightening calorie content.