Spurlock’s been super-sized, spent thirty days in prison, and sold his soul to POM, all in the name of a good story. This Sunday, he’ll be at the Coolidge to present his latest, Comic Con IV: A Fan’s Hope, stories of triumph, tragedy, and tremendous dorkitude at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con.
How did this all come about?
It was 2009, and I was in San Diego, making the The Simpsons 20th anniversary special. I’ve never been to the Con before, and I was completely taken with everything. People, the event, the stories, everything. Later that night, I met Stan Lee at a party—I went over to kiss the ring, which you have to do as a card-carrying geek—and he said, “We should make a movie together. We should make a documentary about Comic Con.” And I said, “Yes, we should.” Literally a year later, there we were, making a movie.
How does being “a card-carrying geek” make this a different experience for you as a filmmaker?
I love this world. When Michael Irons made that guy’s head explode in Scanners, that made me want to make movies for the rest of my life. There’s so much about that world which really spoke to me when I was growing up, and that still speaks to me as an adult.
You’re on the other side of the lens on this one, right?
I was really adamant about not being front and center in this film, because the film is not about me going to Comic Con. There are other people who have more of a real, vested interest in going there than me.
You want somebody who had real stakes, who had something to gain. These are great stories that are better than me wandering through the convention center.
Were there any stories that you couldn’t fit into the movie?
There was a man and a woman coming from Columbia, South America, who mortgaged their house to launch this comic book based upon this character in Columbian folklore. He’s a slave who rose up against his master and struck him down, who went out— Boondock Saints style—to right the wrongs of humanity.
He was going to go out, and take justice into his own hands, and save people. So they created this comic around this character, and they got it into the market in Columbia, and they borrowed money from his mom, and they said, “to really get this off the ground, we need to go to San Diego and get a big distributor behind us, we need to get a Marvel or a DC to help get this to the Latino market.”
Comic Con is like a week away, her Visa comes, his Visa never shows up, so the guy, who’s the most passionate about this, ends up getting left behind in Columbia, and the story starts to fall apart at this point, because now we’re following the girl who doesn’t have the same passion as him, the same drive, the ability to explain why it’s a good investment for someone.
It’s a gut-wrenching story, and it’s sad, but once you kind of lose the catalyst, it’s hard to include in the movie.
I always love people who are wearing costumes, who shouldn’t be wearing costumes. They’re just a few pounds over. Those are always great ones.
There are some great interviews with people who are in costume in the film. I love that, too. There’s a fantastic spectacle to Comic Con. It’s just non-stop eye candy.
So, if you were to go to the con in character, who would you be?
As a kid, I loved Plastic Man. Plastic Man was my favorite comic as a kid growing up. I would go as a very out of shape, very unattractive Plastic Man.
Last question: what are you working on after this?
We’re doing a movie with Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, that is all about the magical world of manscaping. It’ll premieres April 21st, at the Tribeca film festival in New York. It’s all about male grooming. And it’s all about being manly, and handsome. And the movie is called Mansome.