Names & Faces

March 25, 2011

Seven years ago Morgan Spurlock put his health on the line for his Oscar-nominated anti-junk-food documentary, “Supersize Me.” For 30 days, he consumed nothing but McDonald’s. This time around, he sacrificed his scruples.

Spurlock’s forthcoming flick, “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” is a documentary about product placement that was, ironically, funded entirely through product placement. It’s all very meta.

According to Spurlock, he called some 5,000 companies looking for sponsors who would cough up dough to make the film. Who bought in? Some surprisingly big names: Sheetz, POM, JetBlue and Merill, to name a few.

After a Thursday night screening at E Street Cinema, the filmmaker joined consumer activist/former presidential candidate Ralph Nader — who also appears in the film — and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman for a Q&A.

The inevitable question: “Did you approach McDonald’s?”

Of course. And Burger King. And 7-Eleven. Unsurprisingly, there weren’t a lot of fast-food moguls who were willing to climb on board. “Even Wienerschnitzel — they wanted nothing to do with us,” said Spurlock, feigning exasperation. “Like you guys have got so much going on!?”

To be fair, Spurlock did right by his corporate benefactors. At the outset of the film, the documentarian promised his sponsors that he would not disparage them. Throughout the Q&A, he kept his word, which made for some awkward conversation.

“You’re a forthright person. So, tell me something bad about JetBlue,” said Nader.

“JetBlue, greatest airline you’ll ever fly. POM, is the greatest anti-oxidant you’ll ever drink,” replied Spurlock, who was wearing a suit stenciled with corporate logos.

“You think it’s overpriced?” asked Nader.

Spurlock held fast. “Oh, it’s a bargain. What is it, $6 a bottle?”

Lecturing: Michelle Obama, who has announced a slate of college commencement speeches. In May the first lady will address graduating classes at the University of Illinois, Spelman College and West Point, reports the Associated Press. In June she’ll also speak to seniors at Quantico Middle High School, a Virginia school at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Hiring: Chris Brown, whose publicist has decided to call it quits. Tammy Brook, who has represented the R&B singer during the promotion of his recent album, “F.A.M.E.”, resigned Friday morning, Billboard reports. Was it something he said? Or was it something he smashed, possibly during his recent interview on “Good Morning America”? None of the above, apparently. According to Brook, now that “F.A.M.E.” is out, her work is done. “I love and support Chris and it has been an honor to be a part of this album and I look forward to the possibility of working with him again in the future,” wrote Brook in a statement.

— Aaron Leitko, from staff, web and wire reports

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