Mike White, the weird producer behind “White Lotus”


White lotusThe hot TV show in the United States this summer was born out of despair.Closed most of it with the pandemic HBOFor last year’s production plan, the network contacted the screenwriter and director Mike White and asked him if he had any ideas that could be quickly turned into a show. In addition to speed, HBO needs to be simple: the program must only be set in a Covid bubble position.

White is known in Hollywood as someone who can finish a good script in a hurry, and he knows the idea of ​​newlyweds discovering that they don’t match during their honeymoon. Francesca Orsi, the executive vice president of HBO, introduced the basic concepts, and White began writing the script in August. Two months later, filming began at the location of the Four Seasons Hotel in Maui, Hawaii.

White lotus It has always been a big hit on HBO. This season’s finale attracted 1.9 million viewers in the United States, a 350% increase from the series premiered on July 11 (launched in the United Kingdom on August 16).Most of the critics gave it warm notice, Naomi Fry of the New Yorker Call up This is a “almost perfect tragicomedy”.

It is set in the fictional, ultra-luxury White Lotus Hotel, dealing with the themes of one percent privilege, racism and the legacy of imperialism. The play mainly tells the interaction between hotel employees and wealthy guests who come to Maui to enjoy five-star treatment. Like White’s previous work, it explores the role of narcissism, self-doubt, or some sort of collapse. Obviously, everything in heaven is not very good.

First of all, we met Shane, a wealthy, clean New Yorker who is both a mother’s child and a Type A hothead. He is spending his honeymoon with Rachel. Rachel is a charming freelance journalist who seems to be seeing the real Shane for the first time-but doesn’t like what she sees. Then there is the Mossbacher family, led by Nicole, a technology executive who travels with her husband lost in the universe, son of a porn addict, despicable daughter Olivia, and her less wealthy college friend Paula. The other guest is Tanya, a fringe heiress who is fascinated by the spa manager Belinda.

White lotus It has aroused the attention of contemporary social themes, but it is also a well-produced TV show. Each episode makes viewers want more, just like another successful show with islands as the background: survivor. This may not be a coincidence.White made no secret of his love for reality shows, and even appeared as a player survivor as well as Amazing game, He competes with his father Mel.

In the strange, quarter-century career that 51-year-old White established in Hollywood, these reality show detours are meaningful to some extent.He has always been a writer, actor and producer-just White lotus, He played all three roles and directed it. White seems to be most satisfied with the creeping material, but has also achieved success in straightforward comedy.

He first attracted attention in four films created in the early 2000s, the most famous of which is Rock school (2003), The big box office starring Jack Black became a big hit and later became a musical and a TV show.He wrote and performed in critically acclaimed films good girl In 2002, starring Jennifer Aniston, and for Orange County (2002), again featuring black.

But perhaps the more typical White is alternative and award-winning Chuck and Buck, Released in 2000, written and starred by him. He plays Buck, a poor, innocent character, following his current successful childhood best friend, hoping to re-establish some kind of connection. This debut work established a disturbing theme that recurred in his later works.

White grew up in Pasadena, California, where his father was the pastor and ghostwriter of evangelical Christian leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Jim, and Tammy Buck. When White was 11 years old, Mel came out to his family, but stayed in the closet to protect his work in the ministry until his children finished college.

White was attracted to writing and drama at a very young age, and was inspired by a second-year teacher whose son was playwright and actor Sam Shepard.He attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut before returning to Los Angeles, where he began writing for teenage drama Dawson Creek.

However, after the early success exploded, White hit a wall. In 2004, he had a nervous breakdown while making a TV show that was not going well. He was sent to a mental hospital and the performance was cancelled. “I feel weak and lost, like messed up, and at the same time, coming out of it, I feel like I got a huge gift,” he said Tell The New York Times in 2011.

After recovering from the collapse, he continued to act and write steadily, often collaborating with Black and establishing a production company with him.His relationship with HBO began with a enlightenedIt was released in 2011 and starred by Laura Dern, who co-wrote the film with White.

although enlightened Just two seasons are over, and White’s fan base on HBO will only grow.The network announced on August 10 that it will launch the second phase White lotus, Sparking fierce speculation about where it will be set and whether the character will return this season. Somewhere, White, who was writing quickly, was calling for answers.

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