McCusker is married to film producer Deirdre Morrison, whom he met while he was additional editor on the film The Day After Tomorrow.
For McCusker editing is, "a dance of the eyes. It's not just splicing two pieces of film together but compressing time, leading the audience, telling the story through images and dialogue.”
Michael McCusker attended New Canaan High School in New Canaan, Connecticut, where he first began writing and making films. After graduation, he attended Emerson College, obtaining a bachelor of fine arts degree in film theory and production.
After graduating from Emerson, McCusker drove across country to West Hollywood, California where he obtained work as a production assistant. Mike McCusker later worked on the television series, The Simpsons. He became interested in film editing and became an assistant editor on a Showtime anthology called Fallen Angels.
After joining the Motion Picture Editors Guild, McCusker teamed up as an assistant film editor to one of Oliver Stone's bevy of hot shot film editors, Academy Award-winning film editor David Brenner. Mike McCusker quickly became David Brenner's first assistant film editor, running the cutting room for five years on films such as The Patriot and Kate and Leopold. Eventually David Brenner promoted McCusker to the position of associate editor.
When film director James Mangold asked editor David Brenner to cut Walk the Line', Brenner was unavailable. Mangold, in need of an editor with whom he was familiar, propositioned Mike McCusker, offering him the prestigious promotion to film editor. McCusker was nominated for the Academy Award for Film Editing for this, his first big feature film as film editor.
As Film Editor
- Sax's Final Orbit (1997)
- Kings (1998)
- Walk the Line (2005)
- Men in Trees (TV pilot) (2006)
- Walkout (2006)
- 3:10 to Yuma (2007)
- The Girl on the Train (2016)
- Logan (2017)
As Assistant Film Editor
- Independence Day (1996) (Assistant Editor)
- Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997) (Assistant Editor)
- What Dreams May Come (1998) (Assistant Editor)
- The Patriot (2000) (First Assistant Editor)
- Kate & Leopold (2001) (First Assistant Editor)
- Identity (2003) (Associate Editor)
- The Day After Tomorrow (2004) (Associate Editor)
- Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) (additional editor)
Academy Award nominations
- 2006 – Walk the Line (nominated) Best Achievement in Film Editing
Other awards and nominations
- 2006 – Walk the Line (won) ACE Eddie - Best Edited Feature Film, Comedy or Musical