As my daughter and I walked past the packed barricades of hysterical teenagers waiting outside the hotel, I joked with my daughter and constantly repeated, “Which way to the One Direction interview? This direction or is there another direction? Only one direction? Can I go a different direction?” Luckily my jokes are still funny to a seven year old.
We were there to interview One Direction and Morgan Spurlock, the director of the documentary This is Us, which chronicles One Direction’s rise to fame. You could say that Spurlock gave One Direction more directions. Morgan Spurlock is also the director of the documentaries Super Size Me, What Would Jesus Buy?, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, and others. He added This is Us to his resume once his busy schedule cleared up.
As we found our seats inside a small intimate conference room, I realized that I looked a little out of place. I was the lone dad blogger amidst a group of mom bloggers. As a stay-at-home dad, I’m used to being the lone dad in a group of parents. Not that any of the mom bloggers made me feel out of place. They were all nice and welcoming. But felt great relief when Morgan Spurlock entered the room, because there was someone else that I could identify with. And I must have stood out, since he quickly pointed me out and commented on another “1D Dad.”
In the interview, Mr. Spurlock mentioned that he identified with the way One Direction blew up out of nowhere, since it was similar to the way his career took off after he screened Super Size Me at Sundance. He also got a taste of what it is like to be them as he followed them on the road, spending 7-8 weeks straight away from his son for. The film highlights the separation between the band members and their families, and the sacrifice their families have made. In the film, roadies like the tour manager and the head of security take on paternal roles in these young men’s lives. Listening to Spurlock discuss the filming of This is Us¸ I sensed that he had become attached to his subjects and saw himself as a father-figure to the five guys.
Whatever his personal attachment, it was apparent that he wanted to show off the band’s strengths and explain why they are as big as they are. Spurlock explained that it was important the film have mass appeal so that those (like me) who knew very little about the band could understand “who they are and where they’ve come from.”
But let’s be honest, the film is really intended for One Direction fans, of which there are millions. And they are some passionate fans, as evidenced by the aforementioned screaming teenagers. While I’ve always been a bit judgmental about rabid, teenage boy-band fans, Spurlock equated it to football fans who go wild for their team. Teenagers write on their bodies and scream for their band, much like the way football fans paint their faces and get tattoos of their team. And the thing is, I get that.
Spurlock wanted “to tell a story about 5 guys who went out for a talent show and never came home.” With this film, he may have ended up creating a whole new group of “Directioners.”
To read my review of This is Us, click here.
To read about my experience in taking my daughter to see the film, click here.