Because Errol Morris believes in the power of eye contact, he invented unpatented machines called the Interrotron and the Megatron that allow his documentary subjects to look directly at his face on a projected screen while he is in another room. This unusual method lends a startling intensity and intimacy to his mesmerizing films. It would sure be nice to borrow one of these fantastic devices to interview the country’s master interviewer. But he is on a national tour for his book “A Wilderness of Error”; plus, he’s planning a trip to North Carolina to attend Jeffrey MacDonald’s evidentiary hearing in federal court, which is being held on yontif — something that, Morris confides, makes him feel both irritated and guilty. So, alas, I am reduced to a phone interview.
The 64-year-old Morris is a famously obsessive researcher and, in his younger years, he even did a stint as a private detective. I ask him if there a fine line between obsession and devotion. Is he outright devoted to his book and film subjects?