John Fusco: Hollywood Screenwriter

Last Updated Jul 2010


John Fusco, accomplished Hollywood screenwriter, credits Naugatuck Valley Community College with the start of his successful career. He has written eight major motion pictures, six of which he also produced. You might recognize a few of the titles: Babe, Crossroads, Thunderheart, Young Guns and his latest, The Forbidden Kingdom, featuring Jackie Chan and Jet Li together for the first time. He also wrote the Academy-Award nominated Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. His research experiences on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation led to the controversial Thunderheart in 1992, an acclaimed expose of federal abuses in contemporary Native American communities. Fusco also went on to write the Native-themed ABC mini-series Dreamkeeper and the popular Disney epic Hidalgo.

A Waterbury native who grew up in Prospect, John was a high school dropout working in a factory and playing music in local nightclubs. He turned to Naugatuck Valley Community College, where he met his wife, Richela Renkun, to rebuild his life on his own terms. John’s sister, Kathleen LeBlanc, is an associate professor of human services at the College.

He fondly recalls, "The supportive environment and stimulating faculty encouraged and challenged me to streamline my goals. Although I was out of school for six years, Naugatuck Valley Community College helped prepare me to transfer to the school of my dreams — NYU Tisch School of the Arts."

While at NYU, John won the prestigious Nissan Focus Award for students which led him to collaborations with DreamWorks and actor Robert DeNiro.

He is the author of the novel Paradise Salvage, currently earning rave reviews in Britain. His collaboration with producer Ridley Scott, Wolf Brother, is expected to begin production in 2009.