Name: Morgan Spurlock
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Occupation: Filmmaker. His new documentary Mansome — with executive producers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman — comes out next Friday, May 18.
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
I would say my favorite New Yorker living is Jay-Z. Dead, I’m going to claim King Kong, which covers my fictional and/or otherwise.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York?
I love going to big, fancy restaurants, that’s always a good time. But probably the best meal I’ve had in New York City is a picnic in Prospect Park with my little boy. It was probably nothing very exciting: I probably made vegetable salad, there were probably some sandwiches — he’s vegan so there was probably some tofu pops in there, who knows. It was probably pretty basic, but for me that’s a great Saturday.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
As little as possible.
What was your first job in New York?
I started working at the Gap when I was in film school. I was one of those people who went around all day long and folded clothes. And after about six weeks I was like, “I can never work retail again in my life.” My first job out of college was working on the Luc Besson film The Professional. That was my very first PA gig out of NYU working on movie, and I remember we were shooting on like 96th Street and Park Avenue and a police horse went riding through the shot. None of the prop guys were there, so the assistant director asked me to get a broom and a shovel and take care of it. So there I was with a broom and a shovel on the street, scooping up horse shit like, this is how dad always said I’d end up, and here I am.
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway?
I loved Book of Morman. It’s the greatest thing on Broadway right now.
Do you give money to panhandlers?
You know, I try not to, but sometimes you should. So sometimes I do.
What’s your drink?
How often do you prepare your own meals?
Anytime I’m home in my apartment. [But] I am a very mediocre cook and I hate my kitchen. If I loved my kitchen, I would probably cook in it more. But I have a very small kitchen in the apartment that I’m in and it’s an awkward shape.
What’s your favorite medication?
Guinness. [laughs] I don’t take a lot of medication, I try to avoid it like the plague. But if I’m going on a long flight somewhere, I will enjoy a Xanax.
What’s hanging above your sofa?
Paintings: one by Gary Taxali, one by Yumiko Kayukawa. I collect a lot of street art, and pop art. Both of those were some of the first ones I’d bought in the first couple years I started collecting art.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I think once you start getting into three figures, that’s a lot to spend on a haircut. Haircuts should be in the $50 range, and even that’s getting expensive for a guy, because I don’t have a lot of hair. So if you’re spending $100 I’m like “dude, that’s an expensive haircut.”
When I go to bed. It depends: there are nights when I’ll be up working at 1 or 2 in the morning; there’ll be nights when I put my son to bed at 8:30 or 9 o’clock and I’m done.
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
Oh, that’s such a good question. The old Times Square had so much fantastic character … and knives and drugs and prostitutes. It’s all become like a theme park now. But it’s not like I’m pining for pimps and drug dealers and a chance to get shanked in Times Square to come back. But looking back — fondly — on my first trip to New York, as we were driving through Times Square, my parents said “don’t get out of the car.” And I was like, “Mom, is that a real prostitute?”
What do you think of Donald Trump?
I love Donald Trump. Donald Trump is spectacular. Look at that hair! We just made a movie all about male grooming. There should be a film just about that hairdo, all by itself.
What do you hate most about living in New York?
The fact that anywhere else in the country for what I pay in rent I could have a house. I’ve thought about moving but New York grows on you like a fungus. You can’t get rid of it once it’s on you. Or the minute you go somewhere else you pick up the phone and you’re like, “What do you mean you don’t deliver?” And it becomes a much more sparse existence.
Who is your mortal enemy?
When’s the last time you drove a car?
I own a car, I drive all the time. I bought a place upstate a few years ago and for the first year of owning that place I was renting a car every month to go up there so literally within the course of a year I spent more renting cars that I could have spent buying a car. So I ended up just buying a car: a Honda Pilot, four-wheel drive. A very sensible car.
How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
As a documentary filmmaker, from a business standpoint, now is a great time, because when things like this happen people want to seek out the truth, they want to seek out knowledge. So I feel like, for documentary filmmakers like myself and many others, it’s been great because now’s a chance for more people to tell deeper, richer, and — I think — more important stories. On the other hand, I just stopped looking at my retirement account two years ago. I don’t even want to know.
Times, Post, or Daily News?
I love the Times, I read it to actually have a sense of what’s going on in the world. But I love the Post. It’s the greatest cover of any newspaper in the world. Not to mention the fact that I think Sally Brompton is kind of living inside my world and knows my horoscope every single day.
Where do you go to be alone?
I really love when I go upstate, to the Catskills. It’s a good place to be alone. But I’m not usually alone up there, I’m usually with my family. The truth is, since I travel so much for work, I feel like I spend a lot of time alone. In a hotel. In the gym. That’s kind of like my alone time.
What makes someone a New Yorker?
A quick wit and an incredible ability to be patient with incompetence.