Interview With Night Drive Writer and Director Meghan Leon - Taylor Holmes inc.

Interview With Night Drive Writer and Director Meghan Leon

Interview With Night Drive Writer and Director Meghan Leon. The other day, I brought you a wicked fun, totally funny, mindjob of an Indie film that I just really enjoyed called Night Drive. I found it so endearing, enjoyable, and a blast to watch, I went looking for the writer and co-director, Meghan Leon, to see if she would mind talking about her movie. And to my surprise, she was totally down to talk, and I had a blast talking with her about her film and some of the secrets to the inner workings of it.

But! In order to read this interview – I would HIGHLY recommend you watch her film first. And I’m so serious about this – I’m giving you guys all the links and locations to watch this one. DirectTV, AppleTV, Amazon, Vudu, Play, and Microsoft.

Interview With Night Drive Writer and Director Meghan Leon

THiNC. – “You’ve mainly been writing documentaries until Night Drive? Can you tell us a little bit about that? Mandalorian is the coolest thing going in my house right now. I’ve probably watched season 1 and 2 three times as more family members join in. What kind of access did Disney give you to write the Mandalorian Disney Gallery screenplay??”

Meghan Leon – “I’ve always been a writer, from as far back as I can remember. Reading and writing are integral to my life, and my parents are both very creative and encouraged any and all creative pursuits.  We watched a lot of classic films growing up and so I developed a love of film and screenwriting pretty early on. After studying film in college I moved to Los Angeles and applied to just about any entry level job I could find. A post production house brought me in to interview for a receptionist position and they tried me out for half a day but I was just terrible at it. Luckily they were also looking for an assistant editor and let me try my hand at that. I discovered I had a real knack for editing and sort of stumbled into my vocation. Currently my day job is writing and editing Marvel Assembled and Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian. I work in tandem with my creative partner, Brad Baruh (who co-directed Night Drive with me.) We have a BTS cameraman on the shoots who brings us back hours and hours and hours of footage. My job is to comb through the footage to discover the most compelling elements and moments and interweave that with the interviews that Brad does with the cast and crew. With Disney Gallery specifically, our executive producer, Jon Favreau, is very hands on and really gives us a lot of insight and guidance. He’s an incredible storyteller and has great instincts. I feel lucky to glean so much knowledge from him and I try to apply it to all of my projects.

THiNC. – “Night Drive was a really fun movie. Congratulations!! What made you decide to cut away from documentaries and write this screenplay and then go co-direct it? Seems like a pretty massive cliff to jump from. Maybe you could tell us how it all came together?”

Meghan Leon – “Although writing/editing pays the bills I have consistently been working on my own scripts on the side. Brad Baruh and I have worked together for 12 years and he’s read a lot of my scripts. After he directed his first film, Dead Night (which I edited) he suggested we direct something together. Knowing that we would self-finance the film we were aware that we had to come up with a concept that was fairly limited in locations and cast size. I had been taking a lot of ride-shares prior to the pandemic and so a ride-share script was always bubbling under the surface. When Brad proposed we cook up something for AJ Bowen and Sophie Dalah (who had been in Dead Night) it seemed like the perfect set up for the two of them. We broke the story together and I went off and wrote the final script. Having a relationship with both actors ahead of time made the writing fairly easy, as I could hear their voices speaking the dialogue as I was tapping it out.

Interview With Night Drive Writer and Director Meghan Leon - because Night Drive was awesome, and Meghan Leon is even awesomer.

THiNC. – “I gotta say, Charlotte is bat-shit crazy! But in a light-hearted and funny way. The writing for Charlotte really makes it obvious that living without consequences sort of will do that to a person? Maybe? Is that what has happened to Charlotte? I mean, snipping off a person’s fingers? She crazy.”

Meghan Leon – “Charlotte most certainly has a few screws loose. The combination of living without consequences and also the effects of continued time travel have messed with her mind. She was fun to write because I could have her say a lot of terrible things that a normal person would not say, but also play with the idea that she sometimes isn’t even sure when or where she is, so she’s continually getting information mixed up. Ignorance with conviction is a pretty powerful thing. Another element that I wanted to explore with her is how advanced technology is often pitched to us as life altering but so often winds up getting utilized for really banal and petty uses. We have these incredibly powerful computers literally in the palm of our hands and we use them to look at pictures of dogs and order take out. It would seem natural that even time travel would eventually fall into that trap, as a tool for entertainment or convenience more than anything else. Charlotte both knows she has something special but also takes its power for granted.

THiNC. – “One of the members of my site asked me to ask you this: “As you wrote the script, were you ever thinking that maybe there could be more to the loop than it appears at the surface? There is a beautiful shot with Russell, he’s sitting out on a bank, overlooking a valley, the sun is going down, and to me it looked like Russell had more going on in his mind than just “here’s my next uber ride.” That’s how that little scene resonated with me. Just wondering if there was more going on here than meets the eye.” The person that asked this question, I think he believes that Russell has looped before, but we weren’t shown it. Just FYI! hahah.”

Meghan Leon – “I actually hadn’t thought of that, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true! I love films with somewhat ambiguous endings that allow the viewer to interpret them how they wish. Does Birdman fly out the window or does he jump? Is Leonardo DiCaprio still in a dream in Inception? I tried to set up some rules of time travel that weren’t too strict and also wouldn’t require a ton of exposition, but the notion of time travel lends itself to so many questions and possibilities. I don’t think that as a writer I would be able to imagine every scenario that people might infer, and I really dig that. It’s fascinating to get different questions and theories, and it’s satisfying to make a film that people keep thinking about and discussing after the credits roll.

THiNC. – “There are mentions that Charlotte makes about people that she messes around with in time during the film. Do you have a back story about them? Or was it her ex that she was jumping with?”

Meghan Leon – “In my mind I envisioned Charlotte as having a group of equally craven young lovelies who bounce around time doing worthless and terrible things. Simultaneously there are some older folks who also have access to the machine who use it for more pointed and nefarious purposes.” 

THiNC. – “Do you have other films rattling around in your brain that you would like to make? We would love to support your next film in anyway that we can!”

Meghan Leon – “I have a cache of stories that I’m dying to bring to life and Brad and I are trying to strategize on what to jump start next. The pandemic is complicating things, of course. Currently we’re discussing a magic reality revenge film or a whodunnit film that involves the dark arts. I’m a real Turner Classic Movies/Criterion nerd and Brad is a big horror/sci-fi buff and I try to write things that have a little chocolate and a little peanut butter in there. When something solidifies I will most certainly reach out to keep you posted!

BONUS!!!! – As I was chatting with Meghan about the making of the film, I wanted to know one specific detail about the mechanic of her film. I needed to know if, when someone traverses backwards in time, did it create duplicates of themselves? Or where they just maneuvering forwards and backwards in their own personal timelines. And here was Meghan’s answer: “No, there are no multiple selves. She just traverses through her own timeline. So yes, if she went to 2000 she would be 2 (and clearly could not stop 9-11).”


So cool. Can’t wait to see what Meghan comes up with next. Speaking of which, we should keep a list of names to keep an eye on, like a Google search alert but for movie creatives. Lord knows, we’ve talked to a lot of people here on this blog. If we strip-mined those names alone we’d have a metric-butt-ton of names to keep an eye on. Hrmmm. Thinking. Regardless, Meghan is another cool creative we should definitely watch out for. Go watch her Mandalorian documentary show too by the way!! I’m not as big on Marvel, but if you are, go check that out as well!

Edited by: CY