With the strong second season of the HBO hit show The White Lotusshowrunners MikeWhite is the toast of Tinseltown these days. The jack-of-all trades seems to have found his niche as a writer and creator, but he has also been an actor, director, and producer of several films and television shows. The quirky renaissance man has even starred on reality TV shows like Survivors. Here is a list of his best projects to date
The White Lotus isn’t the first show created by Mike White to find success on HBO. From 2011-2013 he had another hit show on the network starring Laura Dern called Enlightened. White also stars in this satire about an ambitious young journalist named Amy Jellicoe (Dern) who has an unfortunate and untimely emotional break, and goes to Hawaii to find a more peaceful, Zen-like way of living. Everything seems great until she returns home and finds out that her new, laidback approach really rubs her flighty mother, friends, and co-workers the wrong way.
School of Rock (2003)
White wrote the screenplay for this box-office hit and teamed up with Jack Black for the first time in the process. The hilarious and inspirational flick about a floundering musician who stumbled into a job teaching children music at a very posh private school earned $132 million in theaters and proved that White was capable of inking some clever and funny stories that could also be successful commercially.
Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000)
Freaks and Geeks was a popular show around the turn of the century that was canceled way too soon. White was a supervising producer and writer for the show back in 2000. Starring Seth Rogen, James Franco, Linda Cardelliniand Jason Seal it only aired from 1999 to 2000, but the story of the lives of a handful of awkward teens at a suburban Detroit high school earned a significant cult following. A then relatively unknown comedian named Judd Apatow served as the show’s executive producer.
Year of the Dog (2007)
White wore many hats on the set of Year of the Dog including his first time as director. The comedy/drama starring Molly Shannon, Laura Dern, Regina Kingand John C. Reilly also saw him take on the role of writer and producer for the story about a woman (Shannon) whose love for her dog and animals sees her make some big life choices, including becoming an animal rights activist and also a vegan. The quirky ensemble cast works very well together, and although not a huge box-office success, it was a turning point in White’s career that showed that he was truly a jack of all trades.
Nacho Libre (2006)
In a second collaboration with the multitalented Jack Black, White directed him in this film that follows Black’s character Ignacio “Nacho” Libre who grows up in a Mexican monastery that houses young orphans. Eventually, Nacho decides that the best way to raise money for the monastery and better support the children and decides to assume the alias of Lucha Libre bound to dominate the Mexican wrestling circuit where he teams up with Esqueleto (Hector Jimenez) to become a formidable masked duo.
The White Lotus (2021-present)
The crowning achievement of White’s career so far, The White Lotus has struck gold as the HBO hit is coming off of a second strong season, and has been given the green light for a third. The first season took home a cache of Emmy Awards and the adult themed show about the White Lotus Resort and the tales of both visitors and guests followed by an award-winning second season. This train doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. In fact, it’s just gaining more steam.
The Good Girls (2002)
This time around, White wrote the screenplay for a film that premiered at the Sundance Festival in 2002 and starred Jennifer Aniston, John C. Reilly, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Another comedy/drama, The Good Girl following the mundane life of a young married woman, Justine Last (Aniston) lives in a small town in Texas who strikes up a romance with a younger man (Gyllenhaal) to spice up her little life. Her life is soon turned upside down as she is confronted by her husband over the affair and also learns that $15,000 has been stolen from the retail store where she works, and her young lover is the suspect and in the middle of a stand-off with the police.
Chuck & Buck (2000)
Buck (White) is an eccentric child living in a small town when he has a sexual encounter with his friend and neighbor Chuck (Chris Weitz). Later, Buck moves away and they both repress the experience. Now in his mid-twenties, Buck is a playwright who is reunited with the now happily married Chuck who is in town for the funeral of Buck’s mother. After rebuffing Buck’s sexual advances, Chuck invites the immature writer to come and visit him some time out in LA Once there, Chuck begins work on a play based on the events of his life called, “Hank and Frank and the Witch.” It was White’s first time leading film and was a preview of the quirky, dark and comical sense of humor that we now see from him today.