Inside Out with Meg LeFauve
Pixar movies are always emotional journeys – quite literally in the case of Inside Out. Having sent audiences into the cosmos with Wall-E and into the clouds with Up, the revered animation studio went for a more introspective approach in 2015 with this heartwarming story set entirely in the mind of an adolescent girl. Riley is eleven when her family relocates to San Francisco, forcing her to leave behind her friends and classmates in the Midwest. Inside her head, as she attempts to navigate her daunting new life, are five emotions controlling her actions: Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust and Anger. When catastrophe strikes, Joy – voiced by Amy Poehler – is sent on a mission across Riley’s mind with Sadness. Along the way, Joy learns that sorrow isn’t something to be stamped out or fixed – it’s an emotion to be embraced.
Our guest this week, Meg LeFauve, co-wrote the film with Josh Cooley and director Pete Docter, who came up with the idea for Inside Out after observing his own daughter’s changing emotions as she dealt with adolescence around 2009. It was a hard story to crack, as you’ll hear in this episode. Meg came onboard with Inside Out at an impasse: Pete, co-director Ronnie del Carmen and their collaborators had the concept of these emotions as characters, battling it out within Riley’s head, but had yet to figure out a way of translating that idea into a transformative feature film adventure.
We caught up with Meg – who you might also know for work on Captain Marvel and The Good Dinosaur – to hear how she, Pete and Josh overcame this hurdle to craft one of the best-loved and most unique Pixar movies yet. We get into how the tragic loss of a colleague at Pixar helped inform the film, the importance of accepting sadness and what the chances are of a sequel ever seeing the light of day. *
*Script Apart is a podcast about the first-draft secrets behind great movies. Each episode, the screenwriter behind a beloved film shares with us their initial screenplay for that movie. We then talk through what changed, what didn’t and why on its journey to the big screen. All proceeds go to Black Minds Matter UK, the NHS Charities Covid-19 Appeal and the Film and TV Charity.
Script Apart is hosted by Al Horner and produced by Kamil Dymek, with music from Stefan Bindley-Taylor. You can follow Script Apart on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.