Director Morgan Spurlock discusses his One Direction documentary “This Is Us”

Aug. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Photo by Christie Goodwin. Courtesy of TriStar Pictures.
Photo by Christie Goodwin. Courtesy of TriStar Pictures.

Over the past three years, the pop British-Irish boy band One Direction has taken the world by storm while gaining millions of fans across the globe. In the movie “This Is Us,” coming out Aug. 30, director Morgan Spurlock takes viewers behind the scenes as the five band members – Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson – tour internationally and record their upcoming album, “Where We Are.”

Spurlock, who has directed and starred in other documentaries such as “Super Size Me” and television shows such as “30 Days,” said collaborating with the band made for “a much more fun and enjoyable process” than his more serious documentaries in the past, even if only having 10 months from the start of filming to the release date made the experience “a real thrill and a big undertaking.”

According to Spurlock, he was drawn to the opportunity to film the band members, “who are now such a huge, massive phenomenon,” and to have this moment in time “as they continue to explode on a global scale.” Unlike his previous movies, “This is Us” even allowed him to work in a movie studio using 3-D technology that most documentary filmmakers would never get the chance to work with.

“To be able to make a film that already has a fan base, and on opening day is going to be seen by more people worldwide than have ever seen any of my films, is an exciting proposition,” Spurlock said.

Director Morgan Spurlock on the set of TriStar Pictures' "One Direction: This Is US". Photo by Christie Goodwin.
Director Morgan Spurlock on the set of TriStar Pictures’ “One Direction: This Is US”. Photo by Christie Goodwin.

He described the One Direction fandom as “inspiring and unfathomable.”

“I’ve never been that passionate or dedicated to something, so to see those fans who are so enamored and invested, I find it remarkable,” he said.

Spurlock, who admitted to owning both One Direction albums, compared the passion of Directioners, as One Direction fans refer to themselves, to Beatlemania in the 1960s. Part of the band’s popularity, Spurlock believes, is each member’s charm and likeability.

“The person that they are the minute they walk off the stage in real life is the same person that is in this film,” he said. “There’s no created persona. They are themselves. I think ultimately that’s what the fans connect with.”

According to Spurlock, “This is Us” shows viewers how maintaining a band like One Direction requires non-stop work even as the band remains grounded through the members’ ability to “call each other out, knock them down a peg, or keep their heads screwed on straight.”

“It’s a tremendous amount of pressure and strain, but each one of them has four other people keeping them in check and allowing them to be able to vent,” he said. “That has kept them grounded up to now and will continue to keep them grounded.”

Spurlock asserted the film succeeds in dissecting each member of the band and, in accordance with one of his initial goals, going further “into the individuality of their personalities.”

“The film really does give [the viewer] these great insights into each one of them as people,” Spurlock said. “And I think that’s wonderful.”

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