Meg LeFauve’s parents made an impact in Trumbull County during the family’s time here.
His father Richard “Skip” LeFauve, was an executive at Packard Electric and later became president of General Motors’ Saturn Corporation. His mother, Mary Paul LeFauve, was a driving force at the Trumbull Art Gallery and was instrumental in the development of art education programs.
Meg LeFauve has had an effect in Hollywood.
She is an Oscar-nominated screenwriter whose credits include Pixar “Upside down” and Disney/Marvel “Captain Marvel.” His latest film is the animated feature “My Father’s Dragon” which premiered Friday on Netflix.
Meg LeFauve said she lived here until she was 16, when her father moved to Michigan in the early 1980s.
“I was born at Trumbull Memorial Hospital and lived in Howland,” she says. “I went to Blessed Sacrament, St. Mary’s Middle School and (John F.) Kennedy High School…I spent my formative years at Warren.
She has fond memories of taking dance lessons at the Warren Dance Center when it was on North Park Avenue, going with her mom to TAG when it was at the Gillmer House on Mahoning Avenue NW, and performing in the woods around the Japanese-style house his parents had built in Howland.
“Much of my imagination formed in the woods behind my house, down to the creek,” said Le Fauve.
LeFauve began filling notebooks at an early age with the stories she imagined. And after growing up going to see movies at the Eastwood Mall in Niles, she decided to go to film school at Syracuse University to become a screenwriter. She earned a degree but didn’t follow a direct path to screenwriting.
“I chickened out because it seemed too difficult and how could I do that and what do I have to say and what kind of stories do I have to tell? I think it’s a normal artist’s doubt that arises. she says. “I think I’m a good balance between my dad, who was an executive, and my mom, who was a painter, and I really channeled myself into the executive side of my brain at first.”
After several other jobs, she ended up at Egg Pictures, the production company started by Oscar-winning actor-director Jodie Foster, and eventually became its president. With Egg, she produced films such as “The Baby Dance” with Stockard Channing and Laura Dern for Showtime, and “The Dangerous Lives of the Alter Boys” which won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.
“I learned a lot about Hollywood and how it works, how movies are made”, said Le Fauve. “I saw how the sausage is made, shall we say. I was so lucky to have a mentor in Jodie Foster, one of the greatest actors, directors, storytellers. Learning from movies and telling stories with her has really deeply shaped who I am as a storyteller. It was an incredibly wonderful time for me and I was able to work with amazing filmmakers all the time and learn from them.
“I did this for 10 years, but there came a time in my life, which can often happen to people, where I realized my true heart was telling my own stories and writing. If I don’t don’t make that change, I’m going to be 80 and I wonder what I might have done if I had followed that instinct. So I jumped off that cliff.
Foster encouraged her decision and suggested books she should read. Then LeFauve spent several years of trial and error, something all aspiring writers must do.
“You may intellectually know history, but writing is a totally different part of your brain,” she says. “It was also tricky because the developing part of my brain was telling me that everything I wrote was terrible. So it took time to bring down the voices of doubt and fear and all the emotions that were bothering me. were animating and to let the writer part of me come out. I wrote so many bad scripts until he got up and I was able to master the craft and find my voice.
The Marvel superhero movies and animated feature films that open on 4,000 screens don’t seem to have much in common with the smaller, standalone stories she directed at Egg. However, LeFauve said the focus is the same – what is the story about emotionally and what is the character’s journey? — whether it’s an intimate drama or a summer blockbuster. And she thinks there are no better storytellers than Pixar’s creative team.
“Although I didn’t have any training in facilitation or experience in that field, I wanted to be a room with that level of storytellers and be challenged at that level.” she says.
The experience was invaluable in developing “My Father’s Dragon” which is based on a 1948 children’s book by Ruth Stiles Gannett about a boy who travels to a strange island to rescue a young dragon who is being held captive there by the other animals. LeFauve enjoyed the book as a child and read it to his sons, Aidan and Julian, when they were young. LeFauve, his writing partner John Morgan and Julie Lynn opted for Gannett’s book (who is still alive at 99) and teamed up with Cartoon Saloon (an Irish animation studio that won Oscar nominations for his first four feature films) to produce it.
The film is directed by Nora Twomey and the voice cast includes Jacob Tremblay, Gaten Matarazzo, Judy Greer, Dianne Wiest, Leighton Meester and Ian McShane.
“I love their (Cartoon Saloon) work artistically,” said Le Fauve. “If you can get Nora to be the creator of everything you write, you’ve won the lottery.”
LeFauve is back with Pixar working on a sequel to “Upside down” and has several other ongoing projects she is developing with her husband, filmmaker Joe Forte.
“What I would like to do is take the skills I learned as a producer and the skills as a writer and put them together. Where I can do that is on television. I come up with different series ideas to see if one of them clicks.
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