Max Landis

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Max Landis
Max Landis 2012.jpg
Landis in 2012
Born (1985-08-03) August 3, 1985 (age 31)
Beverly Hills, California, United States
Occupation Screenwriter, film director, producer, comic book writer, actor
Years active 2005–present
Parent(s) John Landis
Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Max Landis (born August 3, 1985) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, comic book writer, and actor. He is best known for writing the films Chronicle (2012), American Ultra (2015), and Victor Frankenstein (2015), a film adaptation of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein, as well as a variety of short films including The Death and Return of Superman and Wrestling Isn't Wrestling. Recently, he has acted as an executive producer on the Syfy anthology horror series Channel Zero, as well as creator and showrunner for the American adaptation of Douglas Adams' science fiction detective comedy novel series Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on BBC America, which both premiered in October 2016.

Landis is also known for his budding work in comic books, beginning as the author of the DC Comics seven-issue mini-series Superman: American Alien (2015-2016) and continuing with the nine-issue medieval fantasy drama series Green Valley for Image Comics (2016-present). He has continuously teased on Twitter of a follow-up DC series, Superman: Agent of Batman, focusing on Superman and Dick Grayson, which is now presumed to be released sometime in 2017.[1]

He is the son of director John Landis and costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis.

Early life[edit]

Landis was born in Beverly Hills, California, the son of director John Landis and costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis.[2] His family is Jewish.[3] He left Beverly Hills High School for a therapeutic boarding school in Connecticut,[4] but still graduated with Beverly Hills High School diploma.[5]


Since he started writing at 16, Landis has written 75 screenplays.[6] He sold his first script at the age of 18, a collaboration with his father, John, on the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman".[7] He would later be asked to return to the series in its second incarnation, Fear Itself, independently penning the episode "Something with Bite".[8] He also wrote for Bluewater Productions' Back to Mysterious Island, a 2008 comic series.[9] Landis has made cameo appearances in a number of John Landis' films, including The Stupids, Blues Brothers 2000 and Burke and Hare.[10] In 2011 and 2012, Landis was listed among Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" young people to watch in the entertainment industry.[11]

While attending the University of Miami,[12] Landis wrote numerous shorts which were produced by students in the school's film program. Upon leaving the university, Landis went on a "spec-selling streak", having three of his pitches optioned within six months.[13] First, Landis sold Chronicle to producer John Davis and 20th Century Fox's Davis Entertainment. The Chronicle script was previously included on the Black List, an annual compendium of the year's best unproduced screenplays.[14] A documentary-style movie about three Seattle teenagers that develop superpowers after encountering a strange substance in the woods, Chronicle was directed by Josh Trank,[15] and takes a different approach to handling superpowered characters.[16]

Chronicle was released on February 3, 2012. It received wide acclaim and currently holds a "Fresh" rating of 85% on Rotten Tomatoes, which said the film "transcends its gimmicks with a smart script, fast-paced direction, and engaging performances from its young, talented cast".[17] Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert praised the movie, saying, "sometimes a movie arrives out of the blue that announces the arrival of considerable new talents", and singling out Landis' dialogue as adding a natural authenticity to the proceedings.[18] The film opened in 2,907 theaters and exceeded expectations by grossing $22,000,000 to win the weekend box office.[19] It has grossed over $126,000,000.[20] It was announced in early March that Landis would pen a sequel for Fox.[21] On October 10, 2012 it was revealed that Fox was unhappy with Landis' draft for Chronicle 2.[22] On July 18, 2013, Landis confirmed he was no longer attached to Chronicle 2, saying he had been "off Chronicle 2 for months now".

Davis and Fox again opted to team with Landis for a film based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.[23]

In September 2012, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Landis created a TV series for Fox and would executive produce it with Homeland producer Howard Gordon. The series, entitled Vigilant, centers on a young woman who creates a fictional vigilante persona to stop crime and combat a brutally coercive police department and its corrupt internal affairs department. Landis will also write the pilot script.[24] Though the initial report described the show as a "superhero police drama," Landis said on his Twitter that it is not a superhero show and "has more in common with The Wire than Smallville."[25]

On the same day Chronicle was released, Landis released a short comedic film to YouTube entitled The Death and Return of Superman. The video, drawing inspiration from the Drunk History series of short films (including Landis' own Drunk Comic Book History videos about Robin and Batman: Knightfall[26]) retells the story of Superman's death and return through Landis' voice and perspective, with scenes acted out by his friends and actors including Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Simon Pegg, Jennette McCurdy, Ron Howard, Elizabeth Gillies and more.[27]

In 2012 Landis began work on his directorial debut Me Him Her. The film began production in late 2012,[28][29][30][31] and wrapped at the end of summer 2013. Post production began in September 2013, and ended in early 2014. The film was eventually released in March 2016.

In February 2015, Landis directed Ariana Grande's music video "One Last Time".[32]

In March 2015, Landis, a wrestling fan, released a short film, Wrestling Isn't Wrestling, for free on YouTube. The comedic film explained the nature of professional wrestling using the career of wrestler Triple H. Several actors and wrestlers had cameos.[33] In response, Triple H described the film as "awesome" and that Landis "gets it".[34] PWInsider described it as "very engaging" with "unique and creative production", "especially worth passing on to anyone who ever questions why you enjoy pro wrestling"; while said it was "must-see", "innovative" and funny.[33][35]

Landis is the author of the DC Comics seven-issue mini-series Superman: American Alien (2015-2016), which was launched on November 11, 2015, and concluded on May 18, 2016. The series has enjoyed a very positive reception for its grounded take on the titular character and artwork, which varies from issue-to-issue as an artistic choice to tell various segments of Clark Kent's life through different tonal art styles (the art for the series was drawn by Nick Dragotta, Tommy Lee Edwards, Joëlle Jones, Jae Lee, Francis Manapul, Jonathan Case, and Jock, with covers drawn by Ryan Sook.) The collected hardcover edition with bonus material was released on October 18, 2016.

Upcoming projects[edit]

Landis' script for Good Time Gang was then optioned by RCR Pictures, a production company helmed by Robin Schorr and professional poker player Chris Ferguson. The film will star Jonah Hill and Mark Wahlberg as a "bumbling pair of antiheroes".[36] The cast also includes Chris Evans.[37]

In April 2011, Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment purchased Landis' pitch for Amnesty. Brian Grazer will produce the film and Ron Howard is attached to direct.[38] That project has been characterized as a spy thriller set in a fantasy world.[37]

20th Century Fox's Davis Entertainment hired Landis in May 2011 to script a reimagining of the German fairy tale of the Pied Piper. The project has been characterized as a "fantasy thriller" and is being overseen by Steve Asbell.[39]

In January 2012, Variety reported that Disney picked up a pitch Landis made for a space adventure focusing on a brother and sister. The film is set to be produced by Wedding Crashers producer Andrew Panay.[40] According to Landis' Twitter account, he is also working on a project entitled Villains.[41]

It was revealed in April 2012 that Landis would produce his first movie, an "edgy family adventure" named Woogles, along with Bazelevs producers Michele Wolkoff and Timur Bekmambetov. The project will be written by Nick Antosca and Ned Vizzini and is based on a script Landis wrote in college.[42]

He wrote a spec script titled Bright "a contemporary cop thriller, but with fantastical elements", which is set to be directed by David Ayer, starring Will Smith and Joel Edgerton.[43][44]

On March 30, 2016, it was announced that Landis's script for a psychological drama-thriller titled Deeper is set to be directed by Kornél Mundruczó, starring Bradley Cooper and produced by Landis and David S. Goyer.[45]

In July 2016, it was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con that Max is currently penning a Pepé Le Pew feature film for Warner Bros.[46]

Personal life[edit]

In 2014, Landis joined the SCP Foundation fiction project.[47] Landis is a huge fan of pro wrestling, as his short movie Wrestling Isn't Wrestling confirms. He's also a big supporter of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, a small but cult following Southern California federation. Clark Duke and numerous other Hollywood personalities can be seen at ringside during PWG's events.[48]



Year Title Credited as Notes
Writer Director Producer
1996 The Stupids Role: Graffiti Artist
1998 Blues Brothers 2000 Role: Ghostrider
2008 Dupe Yes Short film
2008 Tumbler Yes Short film
2009 Ghost Closet '07 Yes Role: Ghost Girl / Ghost Cowboy 1 / The Gentleman Ghost. Short film
2010 Burke & Hare Role: Handsome Coachman
2012 Chronicle Yes Story co-written with Josh Trank
2012 The Death and Return of Superman Yes Yes Short film
2014 The Slap Yes Yes Short film
2015 Wrestling Isn't Wrestling Yes Yes Yes Role: Himself. Short film
2015 American Ultra Yes
2015 Victor Frankenstein Yes Based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
2015 Me Him Her Yes Yes Role: Party Bystander
2015 Mr. Right Yes Executive


Year Title Credited as Notes Ref.
Writer Executive producer
2005 Masters of Horror Yes Writer (1 episode: "Deer Woman")
2009 Fear Itself Yes Writer (1 episode: "Something with Bite")
2014 Homemade Movies Yes Role: David Kessler (1 episode: "American Werewolf in London Transformation")
2016–present Channel Zero Yes [49]
2016–present Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Yes Yes Creator; writer. Based on the novel by Douglas Adams. [50]

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role
2015 "One Last Time" Director


Year Title Role Publisher
2015 Superman: American Alien Writer DC Comics
2016 Green Valley Writer Image Comics
2017 Superman: Agent of Batman Writer DC Comics


  1. ^ Twitter by Uptomyknees, Max Landis' account October 19, 2016
  2. ^ JWeekly: "celebrity jews" by nate bloom February 2, 2012
  3. ^ JSpace: "Forbes Features Members of the Tribe In 30 Under 30" December 29, 2011
  4. ^ "The Amazing Origin Story Of A Hollywood Wonder Boy Learning To Use His Powers For Good, Not Evil". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 14 April 2016. 
  5. ^ Script Magazine: Mad Max Archived May 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.‹The template Wayback is being considered for merging.› 
  6. ^ "Max Landis talking about screen-writing and Hollywood at Dubai Comic Con". YouTube. 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  7. ^ IMDB: "Masters of Horror" Deer Woman
  8. ^ IMDB: "Fear Itself" Something with Bite
  9. ^ "Back To Mysterious Island #1 - TPB (Issue)". 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  10. ^ IMDB:Max Landis
  11. ^ Dorothy Pomerantz (2011-12-19). "Max Landis, Screenwriter, 26". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  12. ^ Tanya Thompson (2008-10-05). "Spotted On Site: Max Landis". The Miami Hurricane. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  13. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2011-02-08). "Max Landis on a spec-selling streak". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  14. ^ Sauriol, Patrick (2010-12-15). "The Black List of 2010 - Part 2". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  15. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 11, 2010). "Fox picks up Max Landis' 'Chronicle' script". Variety. 
  16. ^ Kelly, Tim (2010-08-26). "Max Landis sets the record straight on his movie Chronicle". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  17. ^ "Chronicle". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  18. ^ "Chronicle". 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  19. ^ Downey, Ryan J. (2012-02-06). "'Chronicle' Makes Fourth Highest Super Bowl Debut". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  20. ^ "Chronicle". Box Office Mojo. 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  21. ^ Brooks, Brian. "Max Landis Set To Write 'Chronicle 2' For Fox". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  22. ^ Fox Isn't Happy With 'Chronicle' Sequel Script, John Landis Says, MTV (October 11, 2012).
  23. ^ "Frankenstein Coming To Life for Fox". 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  24. ^ "'Homeland's' Howard Gordon, 'Chronicle' Scribe Sell 'Superhero' Police Drama to Fox (Exclusive)". 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  25. ^ Twitter / Uptomyknees
  26. ^ "Drunk Comic Book History Chronicles". 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  27. ^ "VOTD: Max Landis' 'The Death and Return of Superman'". 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  28. ^ Armitage, Hugh (2012-11-06). "'Chronicle's Max Landis to direct sexual identity film 'Me Him Her' - Movies News". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  29. ^ "Max Landis Sets His Directorial Debut in Indie Comedy 'Me Him Her'". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  30. ^ "Max Landis Directing Me Him Her | Movie News | Empire". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  31. ^ "Max Landis' directing debut: 'Me Him Her'". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  32. ^ "Ariana Grande's 'One Last Time' Video Could Bring About The End Of The WORLD". Capital FM. Retrieved March 16, 2016. 
  33. ^ a b Johnson, Mike. "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling - Screenwriter Max Landis produces ode to professional wrestling". Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  34. ^ Martin, Adam. "Triple H comments on Max Landis wrestling parody". Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  35. ^ "Former WWE personalities, independent wrestling stars, and celebrities appear in a short film profiling and parodying the career of Triple H". Retrieved 22 July 2015. 
  36. ^ "Jonah Hill and Mark Wahlberg look to become a 21st century Murtaugh and Riggs". 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  37. ^ a b Max Landis Spills Lots Of Chronicle 2 Details, More On His Many Upcoming Films
  38. ^ Fleming, Mike. "Max Landis, Ron Howard Team Up On 'Amnesty' Pitch". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  39. ^ Abrams, Rachel (2011-05-12). "Landis pens 'Pied Piper' for Fox". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  40. ^ Graser, Marc (2012-01-26). "Disney goes into orbit with Landis pitch". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  41. ^ Max Landis Twitter
  42. ^ Abrams, Rachel (2012-04-02). "Landis makes producing debut with 'Woogles'". Variety. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  43. ^ Collider
  44. ^ Variety
  45. ^ Sneider, Jeff (March 30, 2016). "Bradley Cooper to Star in Drama 'Deeper' From Writer Max Landis". TheWrap. Retrieved March 30, 2016. 
  46. ^ Patten, Dominic (2016-07-24). "Max Landis Writing 'Pepe Le Pew' Pic, He Tells Comic-Con". Retrieved 2016-07-25. 
  47. ^ MY #SCP! If you like it, please upvote!, by Max Landis, on Twitter; posted 9 September 2014; retrieved 17 July 2015
  48. ^ Twitter by Uptomyknees, Max Landis' account April 3, 2015
  49. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2015-11-18). "'Channel Zero' Anthology Series Gets Greenlight From Syfy For 2-Season Run". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-10-08. 
  50. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2016-01-08). "BBC America Gives Series Order to 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-10-08. 

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