Who is Mike White?
Mike White is an American screenwriter, actor, and producer, best known for writing screenplays of films such as ‘School of Rock’ and ‘Chuck & Buck.’ Michael was born in Pasadena, California, and spent the early few years of his life there. Following his high-school graduation, he attended ‘Wesleyan University’ in Connecticut. Mike had become interested in writing ever since he was a kid. He decided to follow his passion later in his life and began his writing career in 1998, with the black comedy ‘Dead Man on Campus.’ Following this, he also served as a producer for the series ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ In the 2000 film ‘Chuck & Buck,’ apart from writing the screenplay, he also played the lead role. The film received positive reviews, and Mike received marked appreciation for his acting skills. Over the next few years, although he focused on writing films such as ‘Orange County,’ ‘School of Rock,’ ‘Beatriz at Dinner,’ and ‘Pitch Perfect 3’,’ he also acted in a few films. He has also won a ‘Golden Satellite Award’ nomination, two ‘Independent Spirit Awards,’ and a ‘Seattle International Film Festival New American Cinema Award.’
Childhood & Early Life
Mike White was born Michael Christopher White, on June 28, 1970, in Pasadena, California, to Lyla Lee and Mel White. His mother worked as a fundraising executive, while his father was a reverend. His father had also worked as a writer for religious leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. His father came out as gay in 1994.
Mike was raised in a traditional and highly orthodox family with no association with the entertainment world. Thus, Mike did not have any aspiration to work in Hollywood. However, he loved writing.
His got his first major inspiration to write when he was in second grade. One of his teachers was the mother of popular screenwriter Sam Shepard. Thus, Mike became interested in the idea of becoming a writer himself.
That idea stayed with him for a long time, and he taught himself the basics of screenwriting. He attended the ‘Polytechnic School’ in Pasadena, a highly conservative Christian school. Following this, Mike enrolled at ‘Wesleyan University,’ which had a much more liberal environment. During his college years, he got the much-needed motivation to start writing for on-screen projects.
During college, he met a struggling screenwriter named Zak Penn, who realized Mike’s potential and asked him to move to Los Angeles. Mike made the move and began his struggle. By the time he was in his late 20s, he had already started working professionally.
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In 1998, Mike began his writing career with the black comedy ‘Dead Man on Campus.’ He wrote the film in collaboration with Michael Traeger. The film received extremely poor reviews, but somehow managed to even out at the box office.
Mike next wrote for the series ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ He wrote for and also served as a producer for the series in its first two seasons. The series earned good reviews right from the beginning and ran for four more seasons. Mike moved on to his next projects after writing for the series for two seasons.
In 1999, Mike wrote for the teen comedy–drama series ‘Freaks and Geeks,’ starring James Franco in the lead role. The series ran for a season, covering 18 episodes, and received universal acclaim. However, due to issues related to time slots and scheduling, the series was canceled, without getting renewed for a second season.
Mike’s big career breakthrough arrived in 2000, when he singlehandedly wrote the black comedy–drama ‘Chuck & Buck.’ Apart from writing the film, Mike also played the lead role of ‘Buck O’Brien’ in it. The film was based on Mike’s personal experiences as a bisexual man and became a massive critical success. Mike also received a lot of appreciation for his role.
In 2001, Mike served as the creator for the soap opera titled ‘Pasadena,’ which ran for a season, covering 13 episodes, but was canceled due to poor ratings.
In 2002, Mike served as a writer for the film titled ‘Orange County,’ which starred Jack Black in the lead role. The film was a critical and commercial success. Later that year, ‘The Good Girl’ was released. This was another film written by Mike. It was also a big critical and a moderate commercial success.
In 2003, Mike’s best project to date was released. He appeared in the key role of ‘Ned Schneebly’ in the Jack Black-starrer film ‘School of Rock.’ He also wrote the film. It turned out to be a major commercial and critical success and eventually became the most successful film of the careers of both Jack Black and Mike White.
By then, Mike had established himself as a talented writer for quirky comedy films that struck a chord with the audience. In the next few years, he wrote films such as ‘Nacho Libre’ and ‘Beatriz at Dinner.’
He wrote the 2007 movie ‘Year of the Dog.’ He also made his directorial debut with the film. It was a big critical success. However, the film only managed a limited release and lukewarm box-office collections.
In the more recent years, Mike has written films such as ‘The Emoji Movie’ and ‘Pitch Perfect 3.’
He has also acted in films such as ‘Zombieland’ and ‘Ride.’
Mike has appeared on reality TV shows such as ‘The Amazing Race’ and ‘Survivor.’
During the course of his career, Mike has won many awards and nominations, such as a ‘Critics Choice Award’ nomination at the ‘Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards,’ two ‘Independent Spirit Awards,’ a ‘New American Cinema Award’ at the ‘Seattle International Film Festival,’ and a ‘Golden Satellite Award’ nomination. Unfortunately, he has also been a recipient of the ‘Golden Raspberry Award’ for the ‘Worst Screenplay,’ for the animated film ‘The Emoji Movie.’
Family & Personal Life
Mike is openly bisexual. He decided to be open about his sexuality as he saw his father struggling with opening up to the world about his homesexuality.
Mike once stated that he had already known his father was gay though he only came out when Mike had finished college.