CATEGORIES MoviesEver since his cinematic sparring with McDonald's in "Super Size Me," filmmaker Morgan Spurlock has been pushing buttons and investigating societal phenomena with abandon. Spurlock is the master of integrating himself into subcultures -- it's kind of his thing.
So now, Spurlock has entered the world of manscaping; in his latest documentary, "Mansome," he takes a look at the appearance of the modern man and how it's changed, especially over the last decade. He also delves into the more extreme versions of manscapers, including a man who lives for his beard, and another who spends nearly half his day grooming.
Moviefone chatted with Spurlock on the phone about "Mansome" and our changing society, the manliest men alive today and what the future holds for all the manscapers out there.
So, were your handlebars the inspiration for this film? [Laughs] Oh, yes! No, but really, the real inspiration for the film came out of discussions I had with Wil Arnett and Jason Bateman. Over a two-hour lunch, we laughed at all the ridiculous things in the world of manscaping. By the end of the meal, we were like, "We have to make this movie."
How much did this process open your eyes to mens' grooming habits? How many crazy facets did you uncover? There is so much weird stuff happening. So many men are doing this, and so many men are making this a priority in their lives. What the film started to show me is that men in society are having to deal with the same type of pressure, judgement and inadequacy that women have been facing for a long time. Now men are looking in magazines and in the mirror and saying, "I'm not good enough. I'm not in shape enough. I'm not handsome enough." It's pushed forward this whole industry -- this commodification of manliness.
You don't think that men and women suffer in society equally, do you? Ultimately, I still think women have it much worse. We haven't gotten to that point yet, where the expectations are as high for men as they are for women [in terms of personal grooming]. But now, there are expectations of how men should look. A perfect example is, if you go back 20-25 years ago, men who were manly had hair on them: Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Robert Redford. These guys would have their shirts unbuttoned, hair everywhere. And now, today, the symbol of manliness is a clean-shaven man, with nearly no hair on their bodies. It's like a child, with that sleek, hairless body. [Laughs]
Gross! Weird how there's also that counter-culture, though, of the hairy mountain man. You see a lot of that, nowadays too. In the hipster community, you see the rebelliousness against the idea of being pretty - they're growing the crazy beards and not showering. But are these guys going to work for Pricewaterhouse or Lehman Brothers? Probably not. They're probably going to work for art galleries or something more creative. In the business world, I think there's a different expectation.
What do you see as the end result to all this grooming? Are we going to become some sort of weird, hairless species? [Laughs] You know what I predict? I think that a few years in the future, guys are going to be shaving their faces like Wes Bentley in "The Hunger Games." We'll all have these crazy, intricate beards that take hours of shaving and obsessive perfection. Not me, personally, though; my routine takes 20 minutes, tops.
Who do you think are three of the world's manliest men in pop culture today? That's hard. I feel like there's something so debonair about George Clooney. He's a pretty manly guy. Umm ... I like ... hmm, I think it would have to be an athlete, and who better than an athlete married to a supermodel? Let's go with Tom Brady. He's pretty manly. You know who else? The Rock. Dwayne Johnson. He's got a great sense of humour, and he's also a big man, too.
What sorts of new trouble are you up to? What's next for you? Right now we're shooting a TV show for CNN. We're looking at certain issues, specifically problems in America, where I immerse myself in these subcultures so we can get a better understanding of what's going on. It's called "Inside Man."
You can watch "Mansome" now on Netflix, and "Inside Man" premieres on CNN in April 2013.