For the new film In Search of Fellini, writer/producer Nancy Cartwright and director Taron Lexton took Cartwright’s true-life experiences and created an independent production which pays homage to the legendary director and carves its own niche in surprisingly refreshing ways. Of course, international audiences will recognize Cartwright’s name as the voice of Bart Simpson. Yet, this project took her into decidedly different directions.
“In 1985, before I was cast as Bart, “she said of her journey that culminated in this new film, “I was in an acting class and doing six animated shows on Saturday syndicated television. I was very successful and single and making a pretty good living doing cartoons. I was doing scene study – my teacher suggested I take a look at Fellini’s La Strada (1954). I was inspired and started putting up scene after scene in my class.”
Though Cartwright was making, in her words, “a good living,” she felt as though something was missing inside. “I wasn’t cultivating the muse inside of me,” she recalled. “I had this idea of going to Italy and meeting Fellini; I wanted to get the rights to La Strada onstage.
After Cartwright started writing Fellini numerous letters, she finally heard back from his office. “Glad that you love La Strada,” said Fellini’s handlers, but they added, “Please don’t come here.” Despite the decline of connecting with the legendary director, Cartwright ended up traveling to Italy, starting in Milan. “I wanted to eat, drink, fall in love; everything that an American girl does in her 20s.”