Max Landis

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Max Landis
Max Landis by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Landis at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Born (1985-08-03) August 3, 1985 (age 34)
OccupationWriter, filmmaker
Years active2001–present
Parent(s)John Landis
Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Max Landis (/ˈlændɪs/; born August 3, 1985) is an American writer and filmmaker and the son of director John Landis. He wrote scripts for the films Chronicle (2012), American Ultra (2015), Victor Frankenstein (2015), and Bright (2017), and produced the Syfy series Channel Zero and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency for BBC America. He has also written limited series published by DC and Image Comics. In both 2011 and 2012, he was listed among Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" young people to watch in the entertainment industry.[1] Landis has been accused of emotional and sexual abuse by several women.[2]

Early life[edit]

Landis was born in Beverly Hills, California, the son of director John Landis and costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis.[3] His family is Jewish.[4] He left Beverly Hills High School for a therapeutic boarding school in Connecticut,[5] but still graduated with a Beverly Hills High School diploma.[6] Landis has stated that he has cyclothymia and dysgraphia.[5]

Career[edit]

Max Landis appeared briefly in some of his father's films, including The Stupids, Blues Brothers 2000, and Burke and Hare.[7] He started writing at 16,[8] and sold his first script at the age of 18, a collaboration with his father on the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman".[9] In 2008 he independently wrote an unaired episode for the series' second incarnation as Fear Itself.[10] The same year, he wrote Back to Mysterious Island (based on the Jules Verne novel) for Bluewater Comics.[11]

While attending the University of Miami,[12] Landis wrote shorts which were produced by students in the school's film program. Upon leaving the university, he went on what one contemporary reporter called a "spec-selling streak", having three of his pitches optioned within six months.[13] One of these was Good Time Gang, described as "a cross between The Bourne Identity and Jackass", which was not produced. He was hired in 2011 as screenwriter for Mr. Right, a violent romantic comedy[14] released to mixed reviews in 2015.[15]

He sold Chronicle, a script previously included on the Black List of promising unproduced screenplays,[16] to 20th Century Fox's Davis Entertainment. Directed by Josh Trank,[17] it was released in February 2012 to critical acclaim and commercial success. Landis wrote a draft for a sequel, but Fox was unhappy with it and the project was discontinued.[18][19] Davis and Fox also bought Landis' script for a film based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,[20] which became 2015's Victor Frankenstein.

Landis has written and directed two short comedic features released on YouTube. The Death and Return of Superman (2012) mockingly retells DC Comics' 1992–1993 story-line of Superman's death and revival, with scenes acted out by his friends and Hollywood actors.[21] Wrestling Isn't Wrestling (2015) explains the nature of professional wrestling using the career of wrestler Triple H as an example, with several actors and wrestlers in cameos.[22] Landis was later hired as a consultant for WWE Raw.[23]

In September 2012, Landis sold a "superhero police drama" TV series titled Vigilant to Fox, and planned to executive produce it with Homeland producer Howard Gordon,[24] but the project was cancelled. In 2012 Landis began work on his directorial debut, Me Him Her,[25][26][27][28] which received a limited released in March 2016 to mixed reviews.[29][30] The 2015 film American Ultra, based on his screenplay, received mixed reviews and disappointing box office results.[31][32]

In February 2015, Landis directed Ariana Grande's music video "One Last Time".[33] He was accused of plagiarizing the style and themes of the video from the music video for "You Are the One" by Australian band SAFIA.[34]

In 2016, Netflix began production on Landis' script for Bright, then its most expensive self-produced film.[35] Featuring magical fantasy characters such as orcs as an allegory for racism, the film was critically panned upon its release in December 2017,[36] but Netflix reported that it was popular with its subscribers.[37]

In September 2017, Landis published a website called "A Scar No One Else Can See", which contained a 150-page theory on the themes of Carly Rae Jepsen's songs,[38] arguing that they present a dark, three-part narrative about heartbreak and rejection.[39] Although Landis called the project a "celebration" of Jepsen, The Daily Dot and Pride.com described the document as a conspiracy theory,[40][41] and Reid McCarter of The A.V. Club dismissed the findings as unremarkable.[42]

Controversy[edit]

Landis has been criticized for statements he has made about women, and he has been accused of abuse and sexual misconduct by several women and industry figures:[43][44][45]

Misogyny accusations[edit]

In a 2013 interview with self-styled sexologist Shelby Sells, Landis made numerous comments about women, such as "the most fucked up thing was that I cheated on a girl who I also gave a crippling social anxiety, self-loathing, body dysmorphia, eating disorder to."[46] Landis' statements were sharply criticized as misogynist and objectifying of women, such as in a Jezebel piece which described his comments as "obnoxious", "twisted", and "gross".[45][46][47][48]

In a 2015 Twitter post, Landis described the lead character Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as a "Mary Sue", a term originating in critiques of fan fiction, now often used derisively by critics to describe female protagonists who are "too competent".[44][47] He later stated in an interview that he stood by his criticism, but "I regret framing it that way. I didn't understand that the term 'Mary Sue' had been co-opted".[44][47]

Sexual assault accusations[edit]

In December 2017, Landis was accused of sexual assault by former co-worker Anna Akana. MAD Magazine editor Allie Goertz had commented several weeks earlier about "a famous director's son," that she "couldn't imagine someone more scared in a post-Harvey Weinstein world," and various entertainment-industry figures commented in response about this person's bad reputation without naming him.[45][49][50][51][52] Following Akana's statement, other industry figures confirmed Landis' reputation by name.[49] Anti-harassment activist Zoe Quinn posted about Landis, alleging that his abuse of women was an "open secret" in Hollywood, and that they'd been withholding the story because "him & his dad are powerful figures."[45]

In June 2019, Landis' former girlfriend Whitney Moore posted on Twitter about him, referring to "horrific, inhumane things he did to me",[53] and The Daily Beast published accusations from eight women about emotional and sexual abuse by him, one describing him as "a serial rapist, gaslighter, physical and psychological abuser."[2][54][55] In a Twitter post expressing support for Landis' accusers, Chronicle director Josh Trank said that he had banned the writer from the set during filming.[56][57][58][59] Landis' management company Writ Large and his manager Britton Rizzio stated that they had dropped him "as soon as they heard about" the Daily Beast story.[58][59][60][61]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Executive
Producer
2012 Chronicle Yes Story co-written with Josh Trank
2015 Me Him Her Yes Yes
American Ultra Yes
Mr. Right Yes Yes
Victor Frankenstein Yes Based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
2017 Bright Yes Yes

Television[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes Ref.
Writer Executive producer
2005 Masters of Horror Yes 1 episode: "Deer Woman"
2009 Fear Itself Yes 1 episode: "Something with Bite"
2016–2017 Channel Zero Yes name removed from credits after second season [62]
2016–2017 Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Yes Yes Creator. Based on the novels by Douglas Adams. [63]

Short film[edit]

Year Title Credited as Notes
Director Writer Producer
2012 The Death and Return of Superman Yes Yes Role: Himself
2015 Wrestling Isn't Wrestling Yes Yes Yes Role: Himself

Web series[edit]

Year Title Role
2007 Trailers from Hell Himself as commentator
2015–2017 Movie Fights Himself as competitor (6 episodes)
2015 Best of the Worst Himself
2016 Honest Trailers Writer: "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice"

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Role
2015 "One Last Time" Ariana Grande Director

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Role
1996 The Stupids Graffiti Artist
1998 Blues Brothers 2000 Ghostrider
2010 Burke & Hare Handsome Coachman
2015 Me Him Her Party Bystander

Bibliography[edit]

Year Title Role Publisher Awards
2014 SCP-2137 – The Forensic Ghost of Tupac Shakur Writer SCP Foundation
2015 Superman: American Alien Writer DC Comics Will Eisner Award Nomination, Best Writer[64]
2016 Green Valley Writer Image Comics

References[edit]

  1. ^ Pomerantz, Dorothy (December 19, 2011). "Max Landis, Screenwriter, 26". Forbes. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Zimmerman, Amy (June 17, 2019). "Eight Women Accuse Hollywood Filmmaker Max Landis of Emotional and Sexual Abuse: 'We're Not People to Him'". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  3. ^ Bloom, Nate (February 2, 2012). "Celebrity Jews". JWeekly. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  4. ^ "Forbes Features Members of the Tribe In 30 Under 30". JSpace. December 29, 2011. Archived from the original on January 30, 2012. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Zakarin, Jordan (November 5, 2013). "The Amazing Origin Story Of A Hollywood Wonder Boy Learning To Use His Powers For Good, Not Evil". BuzzFeed. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Gutin, Zack (June 2011). "Mad Max". Script. Archived from the original on May 4, 2011.
  7. ^ Max Landis on IMDb
  8. ^ dxbcomiccon (April 22, 2012). "Max Landis talking about screen-writing and Hollywood at Dubai Comic Con". YouTube. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "Deer Woman". IMDb.com.
  10. ^ "Something with Bite". IMDb.com.
  11. ^ "Back To Mysterious Island #1 – TPB (Issue)". Comic Vine. February 2, 2014. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  12. ^ Thompson, Tanya (October 5, 2008). "Spotted On Site: Max Landis". The Miami Hurricane. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  13. ^ Sneider, Jeff (February 8, 2011). "Max Landis on a spec-selling streak". Variety. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  14. ^ Mayorga, Emilio (October 8, 2011). "Cabezas to helm 'Mr. Right'". Variety. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  15. ^ "Mr. Right Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  16. ^ Sauriol, Patrick (December 15, 2010). "The Black List of 2010 – Part 2". Corona Coming Attractions.com. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  17. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 11, 2010). "Fox picks up Max Landis' 'Chronicle' script". Variety.
  18. ^ Brooks, Brian (March 8, 2012). "Max Landis Set To Write 'Chronicle 2' For Fox". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  19. ^ Wigler, Josh (October 11, 2012). "Fox Isn't Happy With 'Chronicle' Sequel Script, John Landis Says". MTV. Archived from the original on March 14, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  20. ^ McClintock, Pamela (June 22, 2011). "Frankenstein Coming To Life for Fox". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  21. ^ "VOTD: Max Landis' 'The Death and Return of Superman'". Slashfilm.com. February 4, 2012. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  22. ^ Johnson, Mike (March 17, 2015). "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling – Screenwriter Max Landis produces ode to professional wrestling". PWInsider.com. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  23. ^ Harris, Jeffrey (February 21, 2016). "Max Landis Reveals He's a Consultant for WWE". 411MANIA. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  24. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (September 17, 2012). "'Homeland's' Howard Gordon, 'Chronicle' Scribe Sell 'Superhero' Police Drama to Fox (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  25. ^ Armitage, Hugh (November 6, 2012). "'Chronicle's Max Landis to direct sexual identity film 'Me Him Her'". Digital Spy. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  26. ^ "Max Landis Sets His Directorial Debut in Indie Comedy 'Me Him Her'". FirstShowing.net. November 5, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  27. ^ "Max Landis Directing Me Him Her". Empire. November 5, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  28. ^ "Max Landis' directing debut: 'Me Him Her'". Variety. November 5, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  29. ^ Williams, Owen (January 20, 2016). "Max Landis' directing debut Me Him Her finally gets a release date". Empire. Retrieved January 20, 2016.
  30. ^ "Me Him Her (2016)". RottenTomatoes.com. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  31. ^ "American Ultra". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  32. ^ "American Ultra (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
  33. ^ "Ariana Grande's 'One Last Time' Video Could Bring About The End Of The WORLD". Capital FM. January 9, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  34. ^ Brandle, Lars (February 18, 2015). "Ariana Grande's 'One Last Time' Video Called Out For Plagiarism: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  35. ^ Goldberg, Matt (March 18, 2016). "Netflix Makes Mammoth Deal for David Ayer's 'Bright' Starring Will Smith". Collider. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  36. ^ Beck, Kellen (December 22, 2017). "Poor Will Smith! Critics tore apart Netflix's first hopeful blockbuster, 'Bright'". Mashable. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  37. ^ Rodriguez, Ashley (January 24, 2018). "Netflix explains why a movie like "Bright" can bomb with critics and kill with audiences". Quartz. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  38. ^ Romano, Nick (September 13, 2017). "Max Landis Wrote a 150-Page 'Living Document' About Carly Rae Jepsen". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  39. ^ Martinelli, Marissa (September 14, 2017). "Max Landis Wrote a 150-Page Examination of Carly Rae Jepsen Songs". Slate. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  40. ^ Stone, Brianna (September 13, 2017). "Max Landis releases 150-page conspiracy theory about pop singer Carly Rae Jepsen". The Daily Dot. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  41. ^ Henderson, Taylor (September 13, 2017). "This Screenwriter Wrote a 150 Page Carly Rae Jepsen Conspiracy Theory". Pride. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  42. ^ McCarter, Reid (September 14, 2017). "Max Landis discovers music criticism, writes hundreds of pages about Carly Rae Jepsen". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  43. ^ Welk, Brian (June 18, 2019). "'Bright' Screenwriter Max Landis Accused of Sexual Assault by Multiple Women". TheWrap. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  44. ^ a b c Menta, Anna (October 6, 2017). "Screenwriter Max Landis Says He's 'Sick' Of Feminist Media Calling Him Sexist". Newsweek. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
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  46. ^ a b Sells, Shelby. "Interview Series: Max Landis". ShelbySells.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  47. ^ a b c Riesman, Abraham (October 2, 2017). "Who's Afraid of Max Landis?". Vulture. New York Media LLC. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
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  50. ^ Freeman, Molly (December 23, 2017). "Sexual Assault Allegations Levied at Max Landis on Twitter". Screen Rant. Valnet. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  51. ^ Walsh, Shannon (December 23, 2017). "Max Landis: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy.com. Heavy Inc. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  52. ^ Hughes, William (February 13, 2019). "One of Max Landis' sexual assault accusers comes forward with more details". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  53. ^ Moore, Whitney [@tweetneymoore] (June 11, 2019). "a dam has been broken" (Tweet). Retrieved June 12, 2019 – via Twitter.[non-primary source needed]
  54. ^ Colburn, Randall (June 18, 2019). "Max Landis accused of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse by 8 women". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  55. ^ Ivie, Devon (June 18, 2019). "Max Landis Accused of Sexual and Emotional Abuse by 8 Women". Vulture.com. Retrieved June 18, 2019.
  56. ^ Hayes, Britt (June 18, 2019). "Chronicle director Josh Trank says he banned Max Landis from set". The A.V. Club. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  57. ^ Sharf, Zack (June 18, 2019). "Josh Trank Banned Max Landis From 'Chronicle' Set and Hasn't Spoken to Him Since 2012". IndieWire. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  58. ^ a b Welk, Brian (June 19, 2019). "Max Landis Dropped by Manager Following Sexual Assault Accusations". TheWrap. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  59. ^ a b "Max Landis dropped by managers after sexual misconduct allegations". The Calgary Herald. June 20, 2019. Retrieved June 20, 2019 – via Canoe.com.
  60. ^ Robb, David (June 19, 2019). "Max Landis Dropped By His Writ Large Managers Amid Allegations". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  61. ^ Connor, Tracy (June 20, 2019). "Hagens Berman Law Firm Eyes Class-Action Suit Against Max Landis After Abuse Reports". The Daily Beast. Retrieved June 24, 2019.
  62. ^ Hipes, Patrick (November 18, 2015). "'Channel Zero' Anthology Series Gets Greenlight From Syfy For 2-Season Run". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  63. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (January 8, 2016). "BBC America Gives Series Order to 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'". Variety. Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  64. ^ Pulliam-Moore, Charles (May 2, 2017). "Here Are Your 2017 Eisner Award Nominees". io9.

External links[edit]