The Official Hype behind Brian White
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Exclusive one-on-one interview with actor Brian White co-star of Tyler Perry’s “I Can DoÂ Bad All By Myself”
Brian White is the star of Tyler Perry’s new movie “I Can Do Bad All By Myself” opening this Friday (September 11th) in theatres across the nation. No stranger to the big screen White has starred in other notable pictures such as Mr. 3000, Stomp the Yard and Disney’s The Game Plan.
Brian White was born in Boston, Massachusetts and comes from an athletic family and championship background. He is the oldest of 6 children being the only boy with five younger sisters. His dad JoJo White won three championships as a professional basketball player playing for the Boston Celtics from 1969 – 1981. Brian remembers many days of sitting on the sidelines while his dad was playing basketball and throwing a towel over his dad’s shoulder when he would return to the bench.
As a youth, White himself was a talented athlete and showed promise in multiple sports. Having professional athletes and coaches for mentors, White was told early on that school was more important than anything he would ever encounter. In fact, it was the legendary coach for the Boston Celtics, Red Auerbach that actually steered Brian White away from larger schools that mainly focused on athletics. Auerbach urged White to attend a smaller university with more prestige such as Dartmouth, Harvard or Brown.
Red Auerbach’s advice was life changing because Brian White would later choose to attend Dartmouth College, in Hanover, NH where he studied Political Science, Psychology and Theatre Arts. White also played football in addition to being well known for his talents on the Dartmouth lacrosse team. During his time at Dartmouth College Brian White was also being scouted by NFL scouts. Following graduation, White was signed by both an NFL (New England Patriots) and NLL (Boston Blazers) team. NLL is the professional Lacrosse league.
With everything going on in Brian White’s life he continued to lean on his scholastic smarts and helped to open a dance company with a close friend of his called Phunk Phenomenon Urban Dance Theatre Company. The mission of Phunk Phenomenon has always been to use the art of dance as a catalyst for youth outreach. Over the past several years “Phunk” has visited over 200 private and public schools, performing and sharing the collective life experiences of the ensemble on a variety of socially relevant topics.
Phunk Phenomenon has grown far above and beyond what White ever imagined possible. Phunk’s past collaborations now include: MTV, NBA, NFL, WNBA, Disney World and performances with Britney Spears, TLC, Run DMC, No Doubt, Jessica Simpson and Alvin Ailey. And looking to the future, Phunk Phenomenon will share a national stage as a partner with Brian Whites foundation’s charity of choice: W.A.R.M2Kids (stands for “We are All Role Models”).
Primarily focusing his time on business’ and investing time outside of sports proved to be vital during Whites life’s journey because White actually tore his hamstring in half while playing in the world league. The advice that Red Auerbach gave Brian White as an adolescent about focusing on school rather than athletics came full circle because now White found himself at a crossroads. White could try to continue to pursue a professional sports career and rehab his injury or move on and use his Dartmouth education and pave a new path.
Brian White chose to charter a new path and after connecting with some of his Dartmouth “connections” he got invited down to Wall Street. While on Wall Street White became certified to trade (stockbroker). During this time period he also stepped out and started a professional modeling career.
Being eclectic to the core, White constantly has the ball rolling and focusing on various different projects. That’s how becoming an actor came about. It just kind of happened. As Brian White says, “There is no such thing as luck. Luck is when a prepared person recognizes an opportunity and exploits it”.
While booking jobs for his dance company (Phunk Phenomenon) in New York and Boston, White would take his kids to auditions and more often than not companies would ask White personally to audition especially if it was a speaking role. Brian recalls the companies saying things like, “you have a great commercial look and you should audition”.Â
In the process of taking his students on several auditions, White was asked to do a speaking role in a national commercial for TJ Maxx. This is when White first got his SAG card and life would suddenly change forever.
Continuing his pursuit, White was later approached and signed by a much larger scale modeling agency (Ford). This is when he got his first big break and landed a speaking role (3 lines) in the “Best Man”. Unfortunately, the lines were cut out of the movie but the experience is what mattered most to White.
After coming to L.A. to meet with his agent about possibly getting back into professional football, White met a casting director by the name of Kim Hardin who offered White a casting opportunity. After encountering Hardin, White’s agent tells him to go to the casting call because it is legit shoot. The casting call was for the sitcom “Moesha”.
Brian White goes to the audition which 500 people were up for and after auditioning he landed the small part. He starred as the love interest for Char Jackson who was Moesha’s best-friend on the sitcom. That experience was a small but giant step on the road to becoming a successful actor.
During this time period, White sat down and set tangible goals so he could keep track of if he was taking care of business or not.
First, his goal was to land a pilot and that was done. Next, his goal was to land a movie and that was done. After about a year he re-evaluated his situation and made a new list (actresses, actors, directors and producers) of potential people he wanted to work with in Hollywood. And now every year he continues to make a “list” and reaches out to the names on that list hoping that he conquers a new goal or relationship.
That is how the opportunity with Tyler Perry and Taraji P. Henson came about. White made a list for 2009 and these two names were at the top.
Brian White was scheduled to do a screen test with Taraji P. Henson on another project they were scheduled to shoot but the project was cancelled so when the opportunity came around a second time, Brian White new this was opportunity that couldn’t be missed.
It was actually at Tyler Perry’s NAACP Awards after party, that Brian White got his chance to talk to the mogul about future opportunities. At this point, White had already worked with Tyler Perry on “Daddy’s Little Girls”. After setting up a lunch meeting and discussing future projects, White took the opportunity to ask Perry specifically about the role available opposite Taraji P. Henson in “I Can Do Bad All By Myself”. Let’s just say the meeting went well and here we are with Brian White co-starring in “Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad Myself”.
“We finished this movie in 21 days. Three weeks, it’s unheard of,” recalls White. “There was a 25 day schedule and he was early, right on to the next one and not for lack of attention or detail. A lot of people would say you must have missed stuff but no. Some days it would be 37 takes if that’s what the actor needed. But he (Perry) got what he needed. He got the coverage he needed, he would ask us does anybody need anything else and then move on. And he was able to shave four days off a schedule and save millions of dollars for a studio and that’s why he is such a great business man”.
When one opportunity comes many more seem to follow and that is exactly the case with Brian White. On the brink of becoming Hollywood’s next leading man, White is set to star in a new action packed television series “Men of a Certain Age”. The series was created by Ray Romano who also stars in the hour long “dramedy”. The series premiers on Tuesday December 8, 2009 at 10:00p.m on TNT.
“I just want to elevate what I have already started” says White referring to his production company Media 3 Films, LLC that he started alongside actor Boris Kodjoe and director Sylvain White back in 2006.
Media 3 Films secured $100 million to develop and co-produce up to 10 multi-cultural genre films with international appeal over the next three years. The companies will primarily focus on producing films in the $5 -$15 million range that appeal to broad, multicultural audiences.
“Since 2000, I have been focused on studying the craft and business of acting and have dedicated myself to trying to become the best actor I can be. My goal is to seek out roles with which I feel a strong personal connection and see some social significance. Ideally, my work will inspire discussion among it’s (the projects) viewing audience. My promise to myself– whether the platform be film, TV or theater, is to attempt to seek out material that is challenging: mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually”.
For more information on Brian White please visit www.BrianWhiteOnline.com