My Month at Mickey D's

updated 02/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/09/2004 AT 01:00 AM EST

Call him a glutton for punishment: In February 2003, New York City filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, 33, started eating three meals a day at McDonald's and took a camera crew along for the ride. Forcing himself to say yes when servers offered to super-size his orders, the 6'2" Spurlock eventually gained 25 lbs., and his cholesterol shot from 168 to 230. By day 21 he was having pounding headaches, his liver was toxic, and he had lost his libido. "I got so sick so fast that my doctors were in shock," he remembers. "I was so scared I thought about stopping."

But he finished the monthlong movable feast at franchises across the country and, on Jan. 17, unveiled Super Size Me, a tongue-in-cheek documentary that takes aim at the fast-food industry's gut-busting portions and America's fight with flab. The payoff? The first-time feature filmmaker was the man of the moment at the recent Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, where he won the prize for best director of a documentary. A&E has bought the cable rights to the dark comedy, and the formerly broke Spurlock says he expects to sell the theatrical rights for more than $1 million. "We really hit a nerve," he says.

Of course, no one's popping corks at McDonald's, where reps refused Spurlock's requests to interview them for the film. "This movie is not about McDonald's," says spokeswoman Lisa Howard. "It's all about... one individual's decision to act irresponsibly."

Still on a high after Sundance, Spurlock is close to his fighting weight of 185, thanks to girlfriend Alex Jamieson, a 28-year-old chef who devised a regimen she calls "Morgan's Detox Diet." Now he says he's looking forward to directing a film that will allow him to stay behind the camera—and, of course, take a pass on those heaping helpings of fries.

From Our Partners