Features, film July 19, 2011 By Rachel A Maggart

Errol Morris, director of TABLOID.  A Sundance Selects release.

Errol Morris, director of TABLOID. A Sundance Selects release.

Then abundant amounts of research and digging follow, and we are thrown into a blender of stranger-than-fiction and harebrained plots, each witness’s testimony revealing its own bifurcated story line and subsidiary twist.
     “There’s a kind of hallucinatory quality to [Tabloid] because it keeps making these weird shifts and turns,” Morris remarks. “You think you know what’s happening and then reality seems to fade into the distance, all these crazy stories piling one on top of the other.”
     His backdoor entry into Joyce McKinney’s life was a wild piece about five pit bull clones in South Korea (Joyce had sought to replicate her beloved “Booger”). Once it was discovered the dog lover in the article was a subject of 1970s sex-and-chains scandal notoriety, Morris was down the proverbial rabbit hole.
     Turns out he’d hit the jackpot heroine of his dreams: a former Miss Wyoming with an IQ of 168, so hell bent on claiming the object of her desires (Kirk Anderson, a heavyset Mormon missionary) that she’d bumble across the world, shackle, and allegedly rape him, defaming herself in the process.
     “What was your decision making process like for Tabloid?” I ask. “As such a strong personality, did Joyce guide you in any way?”
     Morris considers. “The interesting thing about documentaries is you get to reinvent them every time you do them (whereas most scripted features have some underlying principle). What’s unique about making a film based on interviews or first person accounts is figuring out how to edit it.”

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