McG

Active - 2000 - Present  |   Born - Aug 9, 1968 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Crime, Action, Comedy, Science Fiction

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With over 50 music video credentials to his name before he joined Spike Jonze and David Fincher among the ranks of music video directors turned ultra-hip, flamboyant feature helmers, MTV-era filmmaker McG seemed the ideal choice to direct the flashy, big-budget adaptation of the girl-powered 1970s television series Charlie's Angels. Born Joseph McGinty Mitchell and raised in Newport Beach, CA, the future director was merely six-years-old when the television series from which he would launch his career aired. Though his earliest memories related to Charlie's Angels were of his parents pleading with him to turn off the television and go to bed, McG eventually turned to his studies and graduated from the University of California-Irvine with a degree in psychology. Moving on to direct videos for such artists as Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray, McG viewed music videos as a perfect training ground to move into feature-film territory. Developing an imprint of his own with his flashy and infectiously energetic videos, the future feature helmer was later approached by actress/producer Drew Barrymore to step behind the camera for Charlie's Angels (2000). Pitching the movie to studio execs by mapping it out on index cards and acting it out scene-for-scene, his energy for the project proved effective and he was given the green light to begin pre-production. Though it took him some time to adjust to feature-length pacing as opposed to the visceral visual assault of music videos, McG soon worked out his initial concerns and dove into the process head-on. After re-acquainting himself with the series by watching all 109 episodes, the Hong Kong film fanatic decided to infuse the high-octane energy of the genre with a distinctly colorful Western flavor. The result was one of the biggest action draws of the year, and though the 2003 sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle upped the cartoonish ante in just about every way possible, poor box office ultimately prevented the series from turning into a trilogy.

But the critical failure seemed to have little effect on McG's upward career trajectory, because that meanwhile he shifted gears into the role of Executive Producer for the short-lived television series Fastlane, which took a cue from The Fast and the Furious in telling the tale of two Los Angeles undercover cops with a need for speed. Though the series lasted only one season, it wasn't long before the increasingly prolific producer scored a direct hit with the glossy WB drama The O.C. -- a sort-of Gen-Y Beleverly Hills 90210 that hit a satisfying four season stride. Back on the big screen, audiences stood up and cheered for the director's 2006 inspirational football drama We Are Marshall, but those cheers turned to jeers three years later, when McG failed spectacularly in his attempt to resurrect on of the biggest sci-fi series' in cinema history in the dreadful Terminator Salvation. Fortunately for McG, his role as Executive Producer of Chuck and Supernatural ensured that he was still a major Hollywood player. And though in 2012 McG embraced his romantic side as director of the Valentine's Day action comedy This Means War, audiences and critics just didn't seem to be feeling the love when the film failed to perform at the box office.

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Factsheet

  • Born in Michigan but grew up in Newport Beach, CA.
  • The youngest of three, he was nicknamed "McG" by his family so he wouldn't be confused with his uncle Joe or his grandfather Joe.
  • Childhood pals included Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath. In high school, the two were in a band, the Q Tips, with McG---not McGrath---as lead singer.
  • A year out of college, he formed a record label and signed his friends' band Shrinky Dinx, which later became Sugar Ray.
  • Shared a house with Sugar Ray, produced their debut album and, with borrowed equipment, shot their first music video.
  • Has directed more than 50 music videos, for (among others) the Barenaked Ladies, the Offspring and Smashmouth.
  • Was picked to direct 2000's Charlie's Angels—his first big-screen effort—after a 45-minute meeting with producer Drew Barrymore.
  • Founded the production company Wonderland Sound and Vision, which produces TV shows such as Supernatural and Chuck in addition to films.