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McG at WonderCon 2009
Born Joseph McGinty Nichol
August 9, 1968 (1968-08-09) (age 41)
Kalamazoo, Michigan, U.S.
Occupation Film director
Television writer
Years active 2000 – present

Joseph McGinty Nichol (born August 9, 1968), better known as McG, is an American director and producer of film and television, as well as a former record producer. He began his career in the music industry, directing music videos and producing various albums. He later rose to prominence with his first film, Charlie's Angels, which had the highest-grossing opening weekend for a directorial debut at the time. Since then, he has directed three other films, including Terminator Salvation, and has executive produced numerous shows, such as The O.C. and Supernatural.

McG also owns a production company, Wonderland Sound and Vision, founded in 2001, which has overseen the production of the films and television shows he's worked on since Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.


Early life

Joseph McGinty Nichol was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan and grew up in Newport Beach, California. Because his uncle and grandfather were also named Joe, his mother nicknamed him McG to avoid confusion, which has stuck with him since the day he was born.[1] He had a brother, and his father owned a company that tested drugs for pharmaceutical firms.

McG attended Corona del Mar High School, where he met Mark McGrath, initially wanting to become the lead singer of a band he formed with McGrath. However, he failed as a front man and persuaded McGrath to take over, working behind the scenes as producer and marketer instead. By the age of 22, after he went to UC Irvine and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree for psychology,[2] Sugar Ray signed onto a label and began touring.[3] Around the time, McG worked as a still photographer, shooting local bands and musicians. This led him to form a record label known as G Recordings in 1993.[4]


Early work

In 1995, McG produced Sugar Ray's first album and co-wrote several songs on their second, including their smash hit "Fly."[5] His music career included directing over fifty music videos, such as Smash Mouth's "All Star" and The Offspring's "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)", and directing documentaries on Korn and Sugar Ray. In 1997, he was awarded the Billboard's Pop Video of the Year Award for Smash Mouth's "Walking on the Sun" and the Music Video Production Association's Pop Video of the Year Award for Sugar Ray's "Fly."[2] Eventually, this landed him in the television commercial business, directing ads for Major League Baseball and Coca-Cola. A notable one was a commercial for Gap, which was honored at the 1999 London International Film Festival.[3]


Impressed with McG's music videos, Drew Barrymore approached him about directing a Charlie's Angels film. He accepted, wanting to take on bigger projects, and pitched the movie to the studio executives, who were initially reluctant but later approved the project after much persistence. Being paid $350,000, the film was released in 2000 and went on to gross over $250 million worldwide with mixed critical reception from critics and fans alike. However, he won the Hollywood Breakthrough Award at the 6th Annual Hollywood Film Festival held in 2002.[2] Proving himself to be quite bankable, Sony paid him $2.5 million to helm Dreadnought for Red Wagon Entertainment, a military action-drama following the captain of a small ship as he attempts to save the survivors of a shot-down commercial airline and evade the captain of the Dreadnought, a technologically advanced and heavily armed ship, that tries to cover up the incident.[6] He was also set to develop a sequel to Charlie's Angels and present his film producing debut with Airshow, the latter of which is yet to be made.[7]

Afterward, in February 2002, Jon Peters and Lorenzo di Bonaventura attached him onto the fifth installment in the Superman film series that was in development hell, thus putting his previous projects on hold. McG and Peters hired J.J. Abrams to pen a new script for the film entitled Superman: Flyby, which was submitted in July 2002.[8] Bailing out of the project in favor of Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle in September 2002, McG was replaced by Brett Ratner. Meanwhile, he developed and co-created a television series with John McNamara called Fastlane (2002), which was eventually canceled after one season due to the high costs of each episode. Josh Schwartz approached him and his producing partner, Stephanie Savage, about another television series as well, known as The O.C. (2003), which revolved around the lives of several teenagers based in McG's hometown of Newport Beach. McG was set to direct the Pilot, but because of scheduling conflicts with Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, he was replaced by Doug Liman.[9] The show ended after four seasons in 2007.

The sequel to Charlie's Angels followed in 2003, and although not as successful as the first, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) also made over $250 million worldwide.[3] Shorty thereafter, Sony extended its first-look production deal with Wonderland Sound and Vision for an additional three years, with Hot Wheels, Airshow, and Radiant on their film slate.[10] Since then, none of those films have been developed, with the former, which was previously supposed to be a directing vehicle for him in 2003 (he later chose to produce instead in 2006),[1][11] being put into turnaround in 2009.[12]

Warner Bros., still satisfied with his bankability, re-hired him to direct Superman: Flyby in April 2003 after Ratner had dropped out due to casting and pre-production difficulties. During his tenure, McG and the producers spent more than $15 million planning storyboards, concept art, and locations, as well as having script revisions and the film completely pre-visualized. However, McG later left the project, citing his fear of flying to Sydney, Australia.[13] This eventually brought Bryan Singer on board in July 2004, resulting in Superman Returns.[14] McG produced the television series, The Mountain (2004), on the same year, also getting canceled after one season.

His next television work was Supernatural (2005), for which he serves as an executive producer. The show centers around two brothers who fend off demons, and continues to be on air today. The following year saw Warner Bros. allowing McG, who "looked to improve as a storyteller and wanted to get more substantial material," to direct We Are Marshall (2006), a sports drama film.[1] Although the film received mixed critical reception, McG was complimented for his ability of emotional storytelling. Jessica Reaves of the Chicago Tribune noted that "McG shows new maturity. Scenes that could have been played for ghoulish effect, like the plane crash and its fiery aftermath, are handled with skillful efficiency."[15] At a budget of $35 million, the film only made $43.5 million. He had also produced the horror film Stay Alive (2006), which predictably received largely negative reception.

Along with Adam Brody, McG was next set to produce a remake of the cult comedy hit Revenge of the Nerds, planned for a release in 2007 with a budget of $12.5 million and filming to begin at Emory University. However, after reviewing the script, university officials backed out two weeks before filming, citing it as "too bawdy." This led the film to be shot at Agnes Scott College for two weeks, but afterwards, Fox Atomic and producers shelved it due to the "lack of wide, open space Emory's campus would have afforded them, and [the fact that] winter was fast approaching, making the prospect of shooting the movie's many outdoor scenes problematic."[16] Furthermore, studio executive Peter Rice was disappointed with the dailies.[17]

In 2007, McG worked mostly on television, producing Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll (2007) and Chuck (2007). Co-created by Josh Schwartz, his partner on The O.C., he directed the latter's pilot and continues to be an executive producer on the ongoing series. Fox had also given a script commitment to Invisible, a McG-produced television pilot written by Ari Eisner about a criminal who becomes invisible. However, as of 2009, there have been no updates on the show.[18]


McG continued producing for the next couple of years. In August 2, 2007, McG signed a three-year first-look production deal for his Wonderland Sound and Vision company with Warner Bros., planning to "produce three movies a year" and directing "one of them every year." The first four films set up were Nightcrawlers (now known as Monster Squad), an untitled spy project, Yucatan, and Maintenance.[19] The former, about an aberrant father who must confront his childhood tormentor to rid of his fear of monsters and the dark, was arranged to start in November 2007, but McG dropped out and was later replaced by Mike Mitchell;[20] the untitled spy project was rewritten by Phil Alden Robinson and will be produced by Basil Iwanyk;[21] Yucatan, based on Steve McQueen's leftover notes and storyboards of his passion project, was an epic adventurous heist film; and Maintenance was a film adaptation of Jim Massey's comic book about two janitors who work for a weapons manufacturer that supply to the world's most evil super villains. However, none of them have actually been put into production yet.[22]

Additionally, on October 30, 2007, Fox approved a pilot for an American remake of the British cult show Spaced, which McG served as an executive producer. Simon Pegg and fans were outraged at the prospect of having a remake without the original creators' involvement. Nonetheless, the pilot was written by Adam Barr,[23] but it was eventually heavily panned before its airing, resulting in Fox scrapping the series.[24] McG then executive produced Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious (2008). The Pussycat Dolls Present: series was canceled afterward. He was the executive producer for the WB Television Network's online series, Sorority Forever (2008) and Exposed (2008), as well.[25 ]

McG's next film project was Terminator Salvation (2009), a quasi-reboot of the franchise that introduces the future war fought between humanity and Skynet. After the Halcyon Company purchased the rights, they signed McG onto the project, for which he was paid $6 million.[26] Although he promised fans that he'd bring back credibility to the franchise, with the casting of Christian Bale and personally talking to James Cameron,[27] the film, released on May 21, 2009 in the United States and Canada, received the most negative reception out of all the films in the series. It grossed over $370 million worldwide, a moderate success given its budget, but well below industry expectations.[28]

Following Terminator Salvation, he was expected to direct a remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for Disney, for which he was interested in casting Sam Worthington for Captain Nemo.[29][30] However, after spending nearly $10 million on pre-production work, Walt Disney Studios' movie chief Rich Ross put the project on hold indefinitely due to creative concerns, and McG is no longer attached.[31] He was also in discussions to supervise development and direct the fifth installment of the Terminator film series, having made a $10 million deal with the Halcyon Company,[26] but with the rights of the series in limbo, pending auction, his further involvement is unlikely.

Finally, he has been actively developing a film adaptation of the rock musical Spring Awakening, planning to independently produce and film it in six weeks for $25 million.[32][3] McG is also attached to produce and direct a film adaptation of Jon Stock's Dead Spy Running novel that is meant to reinvent the spy genre,[33] and produce I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President, a film adaptation of the forthcoming book of the same name by Josh Lieb,[34] Medieval, a film he was previously set to direct but is now being helmed by Rob Cohen,[35] and Elysium, a modern retelling of a classic Greek myth written by Matt Cirulnick for New Regency.[36] Other projects he has expressed interest in include a WWII film and an adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was previously filmed by Ridley Scott as 1982's Blade Runner.[1][37]

For his future television work, CBS had ordered the pilot of Thunder Road,[38] ABC has green-lit the pilot of Limelight,[39] and Fox will premiere Human Target on January 17, 2010.[40] He is also set to produce the Josh Friedlander-developed Camp Morningwood,[41] an untitled NBC comedy project co-developed by Larry Charles, and the Danny Comden-penned The Intruders.[42]

In December 11, 2008, he was awarded the Kodak filmmaker of the year by CineAsia.[43]


Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
2000 Charlie's Angels Yes
2003 Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle Yes
2006 Stay Alive Yes
We Are Marshall Yes Yes
2009 Terminator Salvation Yes
TBA Spring Awakening Yes Yes
Dead Spy Running Yes Yes
Medieval Yes
Elysium Yes
I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President Yes
Maintenance Yes
Yucatan Yes Yes
Untitled Spy Project Yes
Fantasyland Yes
Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Producer Writer
2002 Fastlane Yes Yes Yes Directed only the Pilot.
2003–07 The O.C. Yes
2004 The Mountain Yes
Supernatural Yes
2007 Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For the Next Doll Yes
Chuck Yes Yes Directed only the Pilot.
2008 Spaced Yes Scrapped before airing.
Pussycat Dolls Present: Girlicious Yes
Sorority Forever Yes Online series
Exposed Yes Online series
2010 Human Target Yes
TBA Limelight Yes
Thunder Road Yes
Camp Morningwood Yes
Untitled NBC Comedy Project Yes
The Intruders Yes


  1. ^ a b c d Edward Douglas (2006-12-18). "Exclusive: We Are Marshall Director McG!". Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  2. ^ a b c "McG Hollywood Breakthrough Directing Award™". 2002-10-01. Retrieved 2009-07-01.  
  3. ^ a b c d Borden, Mark (2009-05-01). "Hollywood's Rogue Mogul: How Terminator Director McG Is Blowing Up the Movie Business". Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  4. ^ "McG". Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  5. ^ "Hollywood's Rogue Mogul: How Terminator Director McG Is Blowing Up the Movie Business". Fast Company. 2009-05-01. Retrieved 2009-11-14.  
  6. ^ Linder, Brian (2001-10-12). "McG on Fast Track with Dreadnought". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-01.  
  7. ^ Linder, Brian (2001-01-11). "Airshow McG's Next". IGN. Retrieved 2009-09-15.  
  8. ^ Mike White. "Superman: Grounded". Cashiers du Cinemart. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  9. ^ Schneider, Michael (February 26, 2003). "Selleck's on deck for NBC". Variety. Reed Business Information. Retrieved March 11, 2009.  
  10. ^ Kit, Zorianna (2007-09-03). "Col Extends Mcg-savage Prod'n Deal". Retrieved 2009-09-01.  
  11. ^ KJB (2003-01-30). "McG to Direct Hot Wheels Movie". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  12. ^ "Hot Wheels, Barbie, He-Man in Development". 2009-01-03. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  13. ^ Boucher, Geoff (2009-05-14). "'Terminator Salvation' director McG: 'I have a lot to prove'". LA Times. Retrieved 2009-11-21.  
  14. ^ "The Strange and Evil Tale of the Production of Superman V". 2009-01-30. Retrieved 2009-01-30.  
  15. ^
  16. ^ "No Revenge for New Nerds". Entertainment Weekly. 2006-11-22. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  17. ^ "Atomic blast to 'Nerds'". Variety. 2006-11-21. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  18. ^ "FOX Spots 'Invisible' McG". 2007-09-27.,0,4569320.story. Retrieved 2009-09-01.  
  19. ^ Campbell, Christopher (2007-08-10). "McG is a 'Maintenance' Man". Retrieved 2009-09-16.  
  20. ^ Kit, Borys (2009-10-18). "Mike Mitchell to helm 'Monster Squad'". Retrieved 2009-11-21.  
  21. ^ Garrett, Diane (2007-08-01). "McG sets up projects at WB". Variety. Retrieved 2009-10-19.  
  22. ^ Bartyzel, Monika (2007-08-02). "McG Gets New McDeal". Retrieved 2009-09-16.  
  23. ^ Eric Goldman (2007-10-30). "Spaced Remake in Development". IGN. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  24. ^ Jace (2008-05-28). "Where Pilots Go to Die: FOX's "Spaced"". TelevisionaryBlog. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  25. ^ "WB revived as online platform". Variety. 2008-04-28. Retrieved 2008-04-28.  
  26. ^ a b "On the way to 'Terminator Salvation,' legal sparks fly". Los Angeles Times. 2009-05-26.,0,5446645,full.story. Retrieved 2009-07-01.  
  27. ^ Boucher, Geoff (2009-05-05). "McG: 'We're bringing credibility back' to 'Terminator' franchise". L.A. Times. Retrieved 2009-11-21.  
  28. ^ Brian Tallerico (2009-04-30). "Box Office Predictions: The Top 20 Movies of Summer 2009". Retrieved 2009-11-21.  
  29. ^ Michael Fleming (2009-01-06). "McG to direct Disney's 'Leagues'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-02-20.  
  30. ^ Jim Vejvoda (2009-01-15). "Finding McG's Nemo". IGN. Retrieved 2009-08-31.  
  31. ^ "New Disney movie chief pulls plug on costly 'Captain Nemo'". L.A. Times. 2009-11-17. Retrieved 2009-09-16.  
  32. ^ Raddish, Christina (2009-08-07). "Director McG Gives IESB an Update on 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA and Says it's Action Packed!". Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  33. ^ "Stephen Gaghan Adapting Dead Spy Running". 2009-02-20. Retrieved 2009-02-20.  
  34. ^ Pederson, Nicole (2008-03-25). "I Am A Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President". Retrieved 2009-09-01.  
  35. ^ Sciretta, Peter (2009-06-09). "Rob Cohen Goes Medieval, Drops xXx Sequel". /Film. Retrieved 2009-09-01.  
  36. ^ Laporte, Nicole (2006-05-01). "McG, Cirulnick go Greek". Retrieved 2009-10-21.  
  37. ^ Tatiana Siegel (2008-09-03). "Derek Anderson & Victor Kubicek". Variety. Retrieved 2008-09-21.  
  38. ^ "Pilots: McG Takes 'Thunder Road' to CBS". 2009-02-17.,0,7995913.story. Retrieved 2009-09-01.  
  39. ^ Schneider, Michael (2009-01-30). "ABC OK's Bruckheimer, McG pilots". Variety. Retrieved 2009-09-01.  
  40. ^ "FOX ANNOUNCES PRIMETIME SLATE FOR 2009-2010 SEASON". 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2009-09-17.  
  41. ^ "Lionsgate Has A One Night Stan". Empire Online. 2009-08-11. Retrieved 2009-11-21.  
  42. ^ Schneider, Michael (2009-11-15). "Charles, McG team up for NBC comedy". Variety. Retrieved 2009-11-21.  
  43. ^ Dave McNary (2008-11-17). "CineAsia salutes McG". Variety. Retrieved 2009-01-30.  

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