He's game for pretty much anything. Morgan Spurlock's terrific CNN docuseries Inside Man returns for Season 2 on Sunday, April 13 (10/9c) and it finds the intrepid investigator hanging out with the Hollywood paparazzi at LAX. His mission? Photograph Kim Kardashian! TV Guide Magazine spoke with Spurlock to get all the Krazy dish.
TV Guide Magazine: Anyone expecting a condemnation of the paparazzi won't find it in your expose. Why are you so nonjudgmental about these pests when you're a celebrity yourself?
Spurlock: It's a fascinating story that's really worth exploring. How did we as a society get to the point where people like Kim Kardashian are the ones we idolize? There was a time when astronauts and scientists were on the covers of our magazines. What's gone haywire?
TV Guide Magazine: So you don't find the paps out of line and dangerous?
Spurlock: I believe there should be legislation passed to stop the paparazzi from taking pictures of people's children. That's creepy, and there are a lot of them we met along the way who won't do it. They have a personal, ethical standard in that regard. But others are out to make a buck and freely admit they take any picture that might sell. I wasn't very good as a paparazzi, by the way. [Laughs] I sold one blurry photo of an unrecognizable Kim Kardashian and made exactly $3.84!
TV Guide Magazine: People know you. Weren't you sticking out like a sore thumb?
Spurlock: There was one point where I'm out on the street trying to photograph Reese Witherspoon and some of the paps were taking pictures of me. It was a very meta moment.
TV Guide Magazine: In another episode [airing April 27], you spend several days as a shelter worker at the Animal Rescue League in Reading, Pennsylvania. What would you say to those of us who can't get through a Sarah McLachlan commercial without wanting to slit our wrists? Why should we watch?
Spurlock: This show is about life and life isn't always perfect or happy. It's a real roller coaster when you're dealing with the joy of pet adoption and the sadness of euthanasia, but this is not an hour of depression. I promise you will come away greatly inspired. I knew I was walking into a situation that would probably be hard and very emotional and it was, but at the same time it's very hopeful. I grew up in a home filled with adopted pets. My mom and dad would never buy a purebred anything. Period. And that's the way I feel. I'm a mutt so I should own a mutt. And those kinds of dogs always have more personality anyway, so it's all for the best. It's an incredible thing to adopt a pet from a shelter — and, by the way, anyone who really needs a purebred cockapoo or whatever can find them in shelters, too. You'll be rescuing an animal that might be put down.
TV Guide Magazine: Was any of that experience too much for you to bear?
Spurlock: I'll tell you what really got to me — people who simply abandon their pets. I am shocked and dumfounded by anyone who can do that. It's crazy.
TV Guide Magazine: What's not crazy is your UFO show [May 18]. You watch the skies with a bunch of flying-saucer buffs in Arizona and that easily could have gone off the rails. Instead, you take a very respectful, sober approach to people who might otherwise be a laughingstock. And no one's wearing a tin foil hat!
Spurlock: Sure, we could have gone for the goofball comedy, but there's a larger conversation to be had here and we went for those people. As far as I'm concerned, those who believe that we are the only life form existing in the universe are the ones who are crazy. The possibility that we're alone is slim and improbable. It's very easy to turn that discussion into a kookfest. Those are the people who dominate the airwaves. But there are some really credible people who seek the truth and we go out and find them.
TV Guide Magazine: Where else does Inside Man take you this season?
Spurlock: We have an episode on cyber spying [May 4]. As soon as the NSA story broke we knew we had to do something on privacy and we really peel back the onion. We in the U.S. don't realize how much of ourselves we give away on a daily basis without even knowing it. We have no idea how much can be accessed easily and automatically. Then there's an even bigger picture: How do we want to be seen on the world stage? Do we want to be known as a government that is so completely paranoid that we're spying on everyone? What does that do to our stock as a country as we move forward in this world? We ask and answer a lot of valid questions.
TV Guide Magazine: You also preach at an atheist church in an episode you're calling "The Book of Morgan" [May 11]. Ready for controversy?
Spurlock: Religion always brings up issues but our way into this topic is so fantastic. We live in a time where the majority of the U.S. population believes in God or some kind of higher power but more than a third of us feel disenfranchised and feel we've been misled and no longer have trust in organized religion — and that portion of the population is growing and growing and largely consists of people under 35. There's an atheist church called the Sunday Assembly — there are at least 40 of them — and there was one launching in Nashville, which is the buckle of the Bible Belt. It's a gathering place for people who want community, who want to be part of a group to talk and vent about life's problems without being told that they're going to hell if they don't do X, Y and Z. It's all the good parts of religion, plus great pop music, but no God, and I get up and preach a sermon.
TV Guide Magazine: So you're not a believer?
Spurlock: I was raised Methodist but as I grew up and traveled the world and met more and more people from various religions, I have become much more of an agnostic.
TV Guide Magazine: It's been 10 years since your movie Super Size Me hit big. Are you surprised how far you've taken this Inside Man concept?
Spurlock: It's been pretty wild. The greatest thing about Super Size Me is that now my phone calls get returned. For years my team trudged along and it was very difficult to get projects made and now that barrier has gone away. [Laughs] And, of course, we owe special thanks to the U.S. government and corporate America. They never seem to stop providing us with fodder for our show!