By Audrey Stanton-Smith
For The Register-Herald
When award-winning documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock decided to feature the issue of elder care on his new CNN series “Inside Man,” he knew whom to call.
“ ... I called up my grandmother, and I said, ‘We’re making a show about what it’s like growing old in America, and I was wondering if I could come move in with you for a week,’ and she said, ‘Well, come on!’ I said, ‘There’s gonna be a lot of cameras there,’ and she said, ‘Well, that’s fine.’ It was wonderful to get to be there spending time with her,’ Spurlock tells West Virginia South in the August-September issue.
The episode, filmed in and around Griffithsville, W.Va., airs tonight (Sunday, July 28) at 10 p.m., on CNN.
Although Spurlock asked that articles running prior to the episode’s debut refrain from revealing too much about the content, he did say the episode explores the cost and emotions of caring for America’s aging population.
“It was really emotional,” he said, “... but that’s what makes that show so great, that you really are experiencing first-hand what families have to go through.”
“Inside Man” features Spurlock — as host and producer — guiding viewers through the American condition, exploring controversial and timely topics, including gun control, migrant workers, education, medical marijuana, bankruptcy, unions and the drought.
Involving his paternal grandmother and other family members who live close to her in Lincoln County was an easy decision.
“She’s someone I have a real personal relationship with, and that’s really what I like to do. I like to let you into my world, into my life,” Spurlock said. “I think those types of personal stories help you connect with an audience in a way it normally wouldn’t. I think it’s this vicarious journey that I need to be able to open myself up and expose myself physically, mentally, whatever it may be.”
Tonight’s elder care episode is not the first time the West Virginia native and Woodrow Wilson High School alumnus has filmed in his home state. 2004’s Oscar-nominated “Supersize Me,” which also garnered a Best Director award at the Sundance Film Festival, included segments filmed in a Raleigh County middle school cafeteria. And in 2008, an episode of “30 Days” featured Spurlock working alongside southern West Virginia coal miners for a month.
Spurlock talks more about “Inside Man,” other projects (including the soon-to-be-released 3-D music documentary about the band One Direction), filmmaking and West Virginia in the newest issue of West Virginia South magazine, available on newsstands the week of Aug. 18.