“Precocious” doesn’t begin to describe Jason Fuchs: At age seven, he was appearing on Broadway with Sam Waterston in Abe Lincoln In Illinois, followed by three seasons in A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden and the original readings of Seussical. By the same time he won raves in Stephen Karam’s 2007 drama Speech & Debate, Fuchs was writing screenplays on the side—while attending Columbia University. Now this multitalented 26-year-old is getting set make his feature film-writing debut on July 13 with Ice Age: Continental Drift, the fourth in the popular animated series.
“It’s been surreal,” Fuchs says of his fast rise as a Hollywood scriptwriter. “I’m still surprised that they hired me to do [Ice Age], quite frankly, but to work with a brilliant team of animators and actors I admire is the greatest experience I’ve had professionally. You go, ‘That’s Ray Romano saying my line. That’s Jennifer Lopez.’ It’s just amazingly cool.”
The first Ice Age movie was released in 2002, when Fuchs was in the tenth grade at NYC’s Professional Children’s School, and he laughingly admits that he lied to Fox executives in an initial conversation about penning the fourth film. “They said, ‘Have you seen the movies?’ and I hadn’t, so I said, ‘Yes, I love them.’ They said, ‘What do you respond to most?’ And I said, ‘The comedy is accessible to grown-ups and great for children.’”
Good answer! After a fast Ice Age marathon and “eight million pitches,” Fuchs came up with a story of how the three lead animals (voiced by Romano, John Leguizamo and Denis Leary) are separated when the supercontinent Pangea breaks up. “Our three heroes set off on an epic ocean voyage and have to find their way back to the rest of the herd,” he says of Continental Drift. “All of the films have used the core theme of this unorthodox family—how characters from different species, with different personalities, come together.”
Co-writer of the hit Nickelodeon movie musical Rags (a Cinderella story set in the world of hip-hop), Fuchs is currently adapting the soon-to-be-released teen supernatural thriller Break My Heart 1,000 Times for the screen. “When my writing schedule clears up a little, I hope to do more acting,” he says, adding that he’d love to collaborate on a stage musical. “I have to remind myself to be appreciative of all these exciting things that are happening,” he says of his professional juggling act. “I’m excited about where I am, but I’m also very far from where I want to be.”