Sunday, July 08, 2012


An interview with COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE director, Morgan Spurlock

“Wear comfortable shoes; that’s rule number one.” This is the advice, Oscar-nominated documentarian, Morgan Spurlock, has for you if you are going to Comic-Con for the first time. And he would know. He just made the definitive movie on the subject.

COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE is more than just a geeky movie with a cheeky title. Nerd or not, you must know by now that every year in San Diego, masses upon masses of mad fans make their way to a convention called Comic-Con, where they can delight in all things considered even marginally geek-tastic amidst their most ardent fellow followers. You’ve maybe snickered at the parade of costumed patrons reported on the news but you’re missing out if that’s all you think there is to this massive event.

“I think there are a tremendous amount of people out there with this mistaken view that these are people who don’t have any friends. I think the movie shows you that these are actually incredibly passionate people who do have their shit together,” Spurlock tells me when we meet (for the second time over the phone). “These people aren’t losers who waste their time in Mom and Dad’s basement anymore; these are people who are really creative and inspired and driven.”

Spurlock isn’t kidding either. Over the course of just one week, Spurlock and his 160-person, 25 camera crew, followed around a handful of individuals, all of whom had come to the Con with very specific goals in mind. “Our goal from the beginning was to root it in people who had real stakes. Some of the stakes are of course greater than others but they’re still stakes. Whether that’s getting your hands on a gigantic action figure or whether a comic book dealer will be able to keep his store afloat or not,” describes Spurlock.

It isn’t just fun and games either when your concern is that you’re proposing to your girlfriend in front of thousands of people. “Will she really say yes or will she tell him to take his one ring to rule them all and leave?,” Morgan quips without missing a beat. “The more that we could show a real sense of purpose for going to Comic-Con, the more the movie would be relatable to a lot of people.”

COMIC-CON EPISODE IV also features a number of talking heads, from THE AVENGERS director, Joss Whedon (also an executive producer on the project) to CLERKS director, Kevin Smith. There are also fans and writers and artists and actors but the one person you never see is the one person who is always up front and center in Spurlock’s movies, Morgan Spurlock himself.

“We decided we wanted to get people who live and breathe Comic-Con every single year, for it to completely be about them, about their experiences, about their passion,” Spurlock begins to explain of his decision to leave himself out of his movie for the first time. “I’m a huge fanboy; I’m a super geek. These are all things that shaped me into who I am today but we could much better illustrate the story by showing these people than just me going to Comic-Con.”

COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN’S HOPE makes its way to DVD and Blu-ray on July 10 and it is a must see for both nerds and the people who love them. Spurlock himself takes you behind the scenes of the demanding shoot and tells a great story about how he and Marvel mogul, Stan Lee, hatched the idea for the movie to begin with. There are extended interviews, as well as interviews that never made the final cut. And depending on availability and where you buy the movie, there are even limited edition action figures of Spurlock, Whedon and Lee sold with the film as a set. Just satisfy your curiosity already and see it.

The truth is, you think you know what Comic-Con is all about but you can’t possibly know unless you go. And until you can do that, there’s this movie. Finally, one last piece of advice from Spurlock if you are fortunate enough to be hitting the Con:

“Don’t be afraid to take a couple of showers a day because it gets very hot in there. Other people also get very hot. You might brush up against someone. You might even get some Wookie sweat on you. Some of those Chewie’s can get a little drippy.”

Be sure not to miss Black Sheep's 4-star review of COMIC-CON EPISODE IV: A FAN'S HOPE, as well as my first interview with Spurlock for POM WONDERFUL PRESENTS THE GREATEST MOVIE EVER SOLD.

Review copy provided by eOne Entertainment.

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