Friday, August 17, 2007

Lunch With Doug Lefler

Twenty-one years ago, I walked out of Disney Vice-President Ed Hansen's office dazed and shell-shocked.

Ed had just fired me, and I wasn't tracking too well. The first person I saw in the hallway was story artist Doug Lefler. He looked at me curiously.

"Are you alright?"

"Not really," I said. "I was just let go. By Ed."

Doug shook his head. "That's too bad." Pause. "Why don't I take you to lunch?"

I accepted the offer gratefully. An hour later we drove to the Bombay Bicycle Club, a Burbank restaurant long-since torn down.

I have no memory about what we talked about that day except for one thing. We ran into a pretty female background artist named Kathy, and Doug said to her:

"Steve just got fired, and we're out celebrating."

He said it in such a light, good-natured way that I actually laughed. Which was a nice trick, since I wasn't in the mood to laugh.

The reason I bring all this up here is that Doug isn't storyboarding animated features anymore. He's now a live-action director, and he has a movie coming out today called The Last Legion, which stars Ben Kingsley and Colin Firth.

Go see it.


Anonymous said...

Nice story. Terrible movie.

Floyd Norman said...

Maybe we should start a club.

Back in 1972 I was given the boot out of Disney by "Fast Eddie." No hard feelings, really. Ed seemed a pretty decent guy just doing his job. Management jobs are crap anyway.

Somehow, life goes on, doesn't it?

Steve Hulett said...

Somehow, life goes on, doesn't it?

Did for you and me.

Steve Hulett said...

Nice story. Terrible movie.

I liked it better than you did. Apparently.

Anonymous said...

And, don't forget Floyd, Doug is from our hometown! I didn't get the boot two decades ago, but made the leap out of Disney all by myself. No doubt, I am better off now for it. But, that's a different story. I first met Doug when he wandered into my high school art class. He lured me over to CalArts, a very lucky break for me. Good to hear he's doing well. Thanks for the post. Sue

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