San Francisco, California
1980 - present
"[Working on The Lion King is like] writing in layers. You are constantly going back and putting another layer on. Because the film is in production for such a long period of time, there are always opportunities to improve and re-address issues and to contribute to the growth of the characters."
Irene Mecchi is an American writer who has written for print, television, film, and theatre. Her feature film writing credits include Disney's The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules.
Mecchi was born in the third generation of her family that lived in San Francisco, California. She later received a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and continued her studies at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco.  As she began to start her career, her aspirations to direct theater led her to the renowned American Conservatory Theater (ACT), where her instructor, Second City alumnus Joy Carlin, was impressed with her writing and encouraged her to pursue it on a full-time basis. 
Her first work began when she wrote a series of children's programs for Nickelodeon. Mecchi's first network writing assignment was on the Emmy Award-winning Lily Tomlin special, Lily: Sold Out.  Her later television credits also include Valerie, The Popcorn Kid, and a season as staff writer on My Sister Sam. Along with that, Mecchi researched and wrote a play drawn from 50 years of legendary newspaper columnist Herb Caen's witty observations of San Francisco. The play was "work-shopped" at ACT and led Mecchi to edit two books of Caen writings, which were published in 1992 and 1993. 
Finally, Mecchi began her association with Disney in March 1992, when she wrote a 10-minute animated short called "Recycle Rex." That short film encouraged younger viewers to "recycle, reduce and reuse" waste materials. During the summer of 1992, Mecchi was brought on board to help further develop the characters and define their personalities. Several months later, she was joined by Jonathan Roberts in the rewriting process  of the screenplay. Together, both writers tackled the difficult unresolved emotional issues in the script, which created Timon, Pumbaa, and the hyenas.  One example of her touch on the film was when she added the moment when Rafiki hits Simba's head after the visitation of his father. 
After the success of The Lion King, she signed to co-write the screenplay of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which reunited her with Lion King producer, Don Hahn) and Hercules. Also, she reteam with Roger Allers to co-write the book for the musical adaptation of The Lion King, to which they were nominated a Tony Award for Best Book for a Musical. She would later reteam with Allers to contribute additional screenplay material to The Lion King 1½.
Currently, Meechi was the co-screenwriter for the Disney-Pixar film, Brave, which is being co-directed by Lion King story supervisor, Brenda Chapman.