What do you do to follow up a project that’s the most successful movie of its kind ever made, having earned $100 million and counting? If you’re documentarian Michael Moore, you go to the hospital. According to the Associated Press, Moore now has a title for his next work-in-progress, an exposé of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and other health care woes called ”Sicko.” Thanks to the runaway success of ”Fahrenheit 9/11,” he’s also having a much easier time raising production money than ever before.
Even if ”Fahrenheit” hadn’t been a hit, however, he’d have gone ahead with ”Sicko” just the same. ”I’ve never let that get in the way, anyway,” Moore said of the difficulty of getting documentaries financed. ”Even if this movie hadn’t done as well, that movie was going to get made, because I think the American people are clamoring to see the HMOs punished.”
”Sicko” will mark a return to the guerrilla-theater stunts that first made Moore famous, in movies like ”Roger & Me” and his TV series ”The Awful Truth” and ”TV Nation.” The idea comes from an ”Awful Truth” segment in which Moore staged a mock funeral at an HMO that had refused to pay for an organ transplant a man needed to survive. The shamed HMO ended up funding the operation after all.
In a recent EW cover story, Moore described how he’ll adapt that segment to the big screen. ”I go after these HMOs and these pharmaceutical companies. The style of the film is like ‘Run Lola Run,”’ he said. ”I don’t know if I can run that fast for hours, but I just thought, What if we were just relentless motherf—ers, because I can’t think of anything more evil than these HMOs. We try to see how many lives we can save in 90 minutes.”