Morgan Spurlock – Osama Bin Laden

April 27, 2008

How did your wife Alex feel about the film?
We were two months into pre-production of Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden? (released 9 May) when we found out she was pregnant and there was a real hold-the-phone moment – here’s your husband going off traipsing around dangerous places months before you’re about to have a baby. She didn’t like it, but she’s incredibly supportive of me.

Is the world really that much scarier today?
When our parents were raising us, there wasn’t the threat of someone walking into a subway and blowing things up. There’s a different level of danger now. Even in the Cold War, nuclear bombs were ‘over there’.

Are you still on the healthy diet you took up at the end of Super Size Me?
My wife and son are vegan and I’m 66 per cent vegan, as I usually eat two of my meals at home. In the Middle East I ate a lot of street food. I had more mutton than I will ever have in my life. I just ate whatever people had. The key is not to ask a lot of questions.

Does it concern you that your film doesn’t mention oil or examine the Middle East crisis in depth?
You can’t tell every story. We shot 900 hours of footage which we edited down to 90 minutes.

How do you answer criticism that you led people to believe you found Osama bin Laden?
People were asking me: ‘Did you find him? Did you speak to him?’ when we were still editing the movie. My response was: ‘See the film. Wait until we’re done.’ Why would I give away the movie? Were people really that surprised? They were saying: ‘Oh my God. This little film-maker found him.’ I think it’s incredible for people to have that faith, but let’s be realistic.

What about the end of your trip when you get to the tribal area of Pakistan and turn around?
By going in there, was I really going to change that much? I had to make a choice and ultimately I think I made the right one – I came home to be a father.

Were you worried that a film with that title would be an anticlimax?
I don’t think the film is anticlimactic. It shows that Osama bin Laden is everywhere and nowhere. He is this enigma. His influence is in every country that we went to. The film is about showing this myth, this ideology and demystifying this person. In the United States, we get one version of Muslims and Islam on television – a minority of people who scream and yell. You don’t get to hear from the silent majority. We talked to those people on the trip and it was important to give this voice to the voiceless.

How will you bring up your son (now 16 months)?
The biggest thing for me is to expose him to as many people and cultures as possible. You need to be able to experience other people and not live in a box.

This interview first appeared in Observer Review

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