Keepin' id real

The writer-star of Chuck & Buck on sexual ambiguity and the dark parts inside people

Mel White came out to his entire family when his son was 12, so you can see where Mike White's conception of sexuality--as rather more fluid than most of us like to think--originated. He doesn't want to straitjacket his movie as a "gay film"; does he consider himself a "gay man"?

"I don't identify myself as gay," White declares. He pauses, and swoops down into another jittery whisper. "I don't identify myself as not gay, either." One more pause, and then anxious laughter. "Oh God, I sound like Michael Stipe. But given the idea that I wanted to convey in the film--that people can jump in and out of categories--it doesn't seem productive to categorize myself."

It's important to White that there be an element of surprise for people who see Chuck & Buck; if more folks surrendered their assumptions about sexuality on screen, maybe they'd relax the expectations of themselves and others. To that end, the dopily merry title of his movie is deliberate.

Mike White, writer and star: "It's not like I'm afraid to call Chuck & Buck a 'gay film.'"
Mike White, writer and star: "It's not like I'm afraid to call Chuck & Buck a 'gay film.'"

"Actually, I'm hoping that we'll trick some people into coming to see it, that they'll think it's an entirely different movie, some goofy comedy or action film. Or maybe a buddy movie. And when they sit down in the theater, they'll realize it's the anti-buddy movie."

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