Gentlemen Broncos - Mike White
Star Mike White at the press junket © Margie Barron

When Benjamin (Michael Angarano) visits a writing workshop being taught by his idol, science fiction author Dr. Ronald Chevalier (Jemaine Clement), he is later dismayed to discover his hero had stolen his story, Yeast Lords: The Bronco Years, and rewritten it into a new, successful novel.

One of the producers of the comedy, Gentlemen Broncos, Mike White, also portrays the character of Dusty, an oddball friend of Benjamin’s mother, who becomes his guardian angel. At the press junket for the film White spoke about his roles a producer and actor.

How much did you contribute to the look of the character?

Very little. Do you think I would choose to look like that? My mom saw the preview and she almost started crying, ‘Mike, that’s not your best look.’ But it was pretty fun to walk around Salt Lake City on breaks from the set and scare everybody.

At first I thought I was going to get beat up, but they were more afraid that I was a crack-head who was going to attack them.

The main character is a nerdy guy who has big dreams of writing science fiction novels, and loves cult movies, how much of that can you identify with?

Gentlemen Broncos - Mike White and Michael Angarano
Dusty (Mike White) and Benjamin (Michael Angarano) © Fox Searchlight

I’m not so much a sci fi geek as Benjamin, but when I read the script I found the story about him and his mom, who have impulses to create, and they’re insecure about whether there is an audience for what they do, were people and a story that I could relate to.

Have you ever been to Comic-Con?

No, I’ve been invited down to Comic-Con for different movies, and I’ve always found the idea of being in a place like that over-stimulating. I’d rather see pictures of it.

Were you worried about the budget being too low on this film?

This movie wouldn’t have been any funnier if we’d had a lot more money to make some of the effects. Some of the low-fi aspects of the sci fi world is what adds to the humor, so as much as it seemed ambitious on the page I knew Jared’s vision was a more low-fi version of it.

Science fiction fans always have a hard time getting respect, do you think this movie perpetuates the stereotype or pays homage to it?

I think it pays homage, certainly there are people in the movie that you feel they’re going overboard, but I think it celebrates it. I think a lot of the movie is about the whole fan fiction and people taking something that someone else created and getting inspired by that and making their own version.

Obviously, it borders on plagiarism in this movie, but whether it’s dressing up in the clothes of the characters that they like, or writing their own version of the story, certainly I know that Jared celebrates that kind of creative activity.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.