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White out: writer-producer Mike White comes out and discusses the gay subtext in his new comedy, Orange County. (film).



Mike White's unforgettable turn as a childlike gay man in 2000's creepy comedy Chuck & Buck--a film he also wrote--raised questions in more than a few quarters about his own sexuality. Two years later White is ready to answer them. "It's not really just trying to be ambiguous--it takes all kinds, and I'm one of the `all kinds,'" says White, son of gay activist the Rev. Mel White, revealing his bisexuality while promoting his latest screenwriting project, Orange County. White is currently seeing a man, he says, although "I think it's about to end, so I'm not going to go there."

White is willing to go to Orange County, a raucous, loosely autobiographical comedy from MTV MTV
 in full Music Television

U.S. cable television network, established in 1980 to present videos of musicians and singers performing new rock music. MTV won a wide following among rock-music fans worldwide and greatly affected the popular-music business.
 Films. It stars Colin Hanks Colin Lewes Hanks (born November 24, 1977) is an American actor. Biography
Personal life
Hanks was born Colin Lewes Dillingham[1] in Sacramento, California, the eldest son of Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his first wife, the late producer
 (Tom's son) as Shaun, a surfboarding high school senior who decides to enroll at Stanford University Stanford University, at Stanford, Calif.; coeducational; chartered 1885, opened 1891 as Leland Stanford Junior Univ. (still the legal name). The original campus was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. David Starr Jordan was its first president.  to study writing and escape the vacuous mall culture of Orange County, Calif. A few obstacles stand in the way of his goal, however, including a flaky flaky - (Or "flakey") Subject to frequent lossage. This use is of course related to the common slang use of the word to describe a person as eccentric, crazy, or just unreliable.  college counselor (Lily Tomlin Lily Tomlin (born September 01, 1939) is an Academy Award-nominated American actress, comedian, writer and producer. Tomlin's body of work, which has spanned over 40 years, has garnered her several Tony Awards and Emmy Awards, as well as a Grammy Award. ); a clingy, alcoholic mother (Catherine O'Hara); and a devoted girlfriend (Schuyler Fisk, Sissy sis·sy  
n. pl. sis·sies
1. A boy or man regarded as effeminate.

2. A person regarded as timid or cowardly.

3. Informal Sister.
 Spacek's daughter), who realizes theft relationship is doomed if he leaves.

"I went through the main character's experience in a lot of ways--and am still going through it," White admits. "You wonder if, in a culture where great literature doesn't have a high value, there's a place for you--and does that mean you need to escape, or can you stick it out?"

Luckily, White has managed to do both, infusing subversive winks and personal resonance into mainstream-friendly fare like TV's Pasadena and Freaks and Geeks Freaks and Geeks is an American television series, created by Paul Feig and produced by Judd Apatow, that aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 TV season. Although the show, considered a comedy-drama, garnered much critical acclaim and a devoted cult following, repeated  and the upcoming Jennifer Aniston movie The Good Girl.

That he always aspired to writing comes as no surprise. White's father, Mel, is a best-selling scribe who once worked as a ghostwriter ghost·writ·er  
n.
One who writes for and gives credit of authorship to another.

Noun 1. ghostwriter - a writer who gives the credit of authorship to someone else
ghost
 for Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, and Jerry Falwell--before coming out and forming the gay religious activist group Soulforce. But Orange County's self-absorbed, wealthy father (John Lithgow), White says, "is really nothing like my dad, who was always [prolific]. He never sat down."

And while he relates to his Orange County hero's literary ambitions, White says his romantic life in high school was no inspiration for the film, since he barely had one. In fact, anxiousness to explore his sexuality became a major motivation to leave home for college. "That's certainly the underhanded gay reading of Orange County, if there is one," he adds. "If you substituted `I'm a writer' with `I'm gay,' you could certainly see there is a veiled coming-of-age gay story there."

For those demanding more overt pink power--and laughs--White tossed in a lesbian kiss, a pair of very close surfer dudes, and even a gay smooch for young Hanks--from legend Harold Ramis of '70s and '80s comedy show SCTV SCTV Second City Television
SCTV Slow Scan Television
SCTV Sea Cadet Training Vessel (Canada)
SCTV Separation and Control Test Vehicle
! Recalling Hanks's filming of that kiss, White smiles: "I think Colin felt that he didn't sell the kiss well enough."

For a longer version of this conversation with Mike White, go to www.advocate.com
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Article Details
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Author:Ferber, Lawrence
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 5, 2002
Words:494
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