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Errol Morris Talks Tabloid and Other Strange Topics

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 14, 2011 at 7:55AM

Errol Morris's Tabloid was one of my fave films at the Toronto Film Festival, from which Sundance Selects eventually acquired the truth-is-stranger than-fiction doc. It's screening at SXSW. Morris discovered the nugget of this story, about Joyce McKinney and her obsessive love with a man she tries to save from a cult, buried in the jump of a Boston Globe article. Only Morris would see the potential in it.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Errol Morris's Tabloid was one of my fave films at the Toronto Film Festival, from which Sundance Selects eventually acquired the truth-is-stranger than-fiction doc. It's screening at SXSW. Morris discovered the nugget of this story, about Joyce McKinney and her obsessive love with a man she tries to save from a cult, buried in the jump of a Boston Globe article. Only Morris would see the potential in it.

In the interview below he talks about finding McKinney and tracking her story, the fallibility of all narrators, and how next he wants to tackle fiction for the first time -- he's adapting a TV show about the first man who was cryonically frozen.

Thompson on Hollywood

Tabloid--made without distributor backing--is vintage Morris: idiosyncratic, disturbing and jaw-dropping in its depiction of unbelievable human behavior. An intellectual, questing filmmaker who can be hugely funny, Morris has gotten very good at a wide range of things, from Oscar-winning dead-serious docs like The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert S. McNamara, high-end commercials on beer and bacon and Oscar shorts to his long-form New York Times blog posts on such topics as truth in photography and the uncanny valley. His book Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography is due in the fall.

Here's Tim Appelo's Telluride review and B. Ruby Rich's Toronto interview, in which Morris talks about how tough making docs is without his longtime editor, Karen Schmeer, 40, who was killed last year in a hit-and-run accident. Track @errolmorris on Twitter.

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Part Two:

This article is related to: Directors, Festivals, Genres, Video, Stuck In Love, Reviews, Toronto, Telluride, SXSW, Independents, Documentaries, Interviews , Bloggers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.