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 33)
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, known for writing the films Chronicle (2012), American Ultra (2015), Victor Frankenstein (2015), and Bright (2017), and for producing the Syfy series Channel Zero and the American adaptation of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on BBC America. He has been accused of sexual misconduct by several women. He is the son of director John 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.[1] His family is Jewish.[2] He left Beverly Hills High School for a therapeutic boarding school in Connecticut,[3] but still graduated with a Beverly Hills High School diploma.[4]


Max Landis appeared briefly in some of his father's films, including The Stupids, Blues Brothers 2000, and Burke and Hare.[5] He started writing at 16,[6] and sold his first script at the age of 18, a collaboration with his father on the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman".[7] In 2008 he independently wrote an unaired episode for the series' second incarnation as Fear Itself.[8] The same year, he wrote Back to Mysterious Island, a mini-series for Bluewater Comics.[9]

While attending the University of Miami,[10] 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.[11] One of these was Good Time Gang, described as "a cross between The Bourne Identity and Jackass", which was not produced. He was announced in 2011 as screenwriter for Mr. Right, a violent romantic comedy[12] released to mixed reviews in 2015.[13]

He sold Chronicle, a script previously included on the Black List of promising unproduced screenplays,[14] to 20th Century Fox's Davis Entertainment. Directed by Josh Trank,[15] 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.[16][17] Davis and Fox also bought Landis' script for a film based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein,[18] which became 2015's Victor Frankenstein.

On the day Chronicle was released, Landis released a comedic short film to YouTube entitled The Death and Return of Superman, which mockingly retells DC Comics' 1992-1993 story-line of Superman's death and revival, with scenes acted out by his friends and Hollywood actors.[19]

In both 2011 and 2012, he was listed among Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" young people to watch in the entertainment industry.[20]

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,[21] but the series was not produced. In 2012 Landis began work on his directorial debut, Me Him Her,[22][23][24][25] which received a limited released in March 2016 to mixed reviews.[26][27]

In February 2015, Landis directed Ariana Grande's music video "One Last Time".[28] 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.[citation needed]

In March 2015, Landis released the free short film Wrestling Isn't Wrestling on YouTube. The comedic film explained the nature of professional wrestling using the career of wrestler Triple H as an example, with several actors and wrestlers in cameos.[29] Landis was later hired as a consultant for WWE Raw.[30]

The 2015 film American Ultra, based on his screenplay, received mixed reviews and disappointing box office results.[31][32]

In 2016, Netflix began production on Landis' script for Bright, then its most expensive self-produced film.[33] Featuring magical fantasy characters such as orcs as an allegory for racism, the film was critically panned upon its release in December 2017,[34] but Netflix reported that it was popular with its subscribers.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Landis stated in an interview with Buzzfeed that he has cyclothymia and dysgraphia.[36]


Landis has been criticized for statements he has made about women, and he has been accused of abuse and sexual misconduct by several women.

Misogyny accusations[edit]

In a 2013 interview with self-styled sexologist Shelby Sells, Landis said, "the most fucked up thing was that i cheated on a girl who i also gave a crippling social anxiety, self-loathing, body dismorphia, eating disorder to."[37] The interview was sharply criticized, such as in an essay on the website Jezebel which described his comments about women and relationships as "obnoxious", "twisted", and "gross".[38] Landis later claimed to have been drunk during the interview.[39]

In a post on Twitter in 2015, 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 of feminism to describe female protagonists who are "too competent".[39][40] 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".[39][40]

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," referring to the series of allegations of sexual misconduct by the film producer. Other entertainment-industry figures commented in response about this person's bad reputation without naming him.[41][42][43][44][45] Following Akana's statement, others confirmed Landis' reputation by name.[41] Anti-harassment activist Zoe Quinn posted about Landis, alleging that his abuse of women was an "open secret" in Hollywood, and that she’d been withholding the story because "him & his dad are powerful figures."[43] In June 2019, Landis' former girlfriend Whitney Moore posted on Twitter about Landis, referring to "horrific, inhumane things he did to me".[46]



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


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 [47]
2016–2017 Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Yes Yes Creator. Based on the novels by Douglas Adams. [48]

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–present 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


Year Title Role Publisher Awards
2014 SCP-2137 – The Forensic Ghost of Tupac Shakur[49] Writer SCP Foundation
2015 Superman: American Alien Writer DC Comics Will Eisner Award Nomination, Best Writer[50]
2016 Green Valley Writer Image Comics


  1. ^ JWeekly: "celebrity jews" by Nate Bloom February 2, 2012
  2. ^ JSpace: "Forbes Features Members of the Tribe In 30 Under 30" Archived 2012-01-30 at the Wayback Machine December 29, 2011
  3. ^ "The Amazing Origin Story Of A Hollywood Wonder Boy Learning To Use His Powers For Good, Not Evil". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 14 April 2016.
  4. ^ Script Magazine: Mad Max Archived May 4, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ IMDB:Max Landis
  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. ^ Tanya Thompson (2008-10-05). "Spotted On Site: Max Landis". The Miami Hurricane. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  11. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2011-02-08). "Max Landis on a spec-selling streak". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  12. ^ Mayorga, Emilio (October 8, 2011). "Cabezas to helm 'Mr. Right'". Variety. Retrieved October 8, 2014.
  13. ^ "Mr. Right Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  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. ^ Brooks, Brian. "Max Landis Set To Write 'Chronicle 2' For Fox". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  17. ^ Fox Isn't Happy With 'Chronicle' Sequel Script, John Landis Says, MTV (October 11, 2012).
  18. ^ "Frankenstein Coming To Life for Fox". 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  19. ^ "VOTD: Max Landis' 'The Death and Return of Superman'". 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  20. ^ Dorothy Pomerantz (2011-12-19). "Max Landis, Screenwriter, 26". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  21. ^ "'Homeland's' Howard Gordon, 'Chronicle' Scribe Sell 'Superhero' Police Drama to Fox (Exclusive)". 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  22. ^ Armitage, Hugh (2012-11-06). "'Chronicle's Max Landis to direct sexual identity film 'Me Him Her' – Movies News". Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  23. ^ "Max Landis Sets His Directorial Debut in Indie Comedy 'Me Him Her'". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  24. ^ "Max Landis Directing Me Him Her | Movie News | Empire". Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  25. ^ "Max Landis' directing debut: 'Me Him Her'". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  26. ^ Owen Williams (2016-01-20). "Max Landis' directing debut Me Him Her finally gets a release date". Empire Online. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  27. ^ "Me Him Her (2016)". Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  28. ^ "Ariana Grande's 'One Last Time' Video Could Bring About The End Of The WORLD". Capital FM. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  29. ^ Johnson, Mike. "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling – Screenwriter Max Landis produces ode to professional wrestling". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  30. ^ "Max Landis Reveals He's a Consultant for WWE". 411MANIA. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  31. ^ "American Ultra". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  32. ^ "American Ultra (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  33. ^ Goldberg, Matt (March 18, 2016). "Netflix Makes Mammoth Deal for David Ayer's 'Bright' Starring Will Smith". Collider. Complex Media. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  34. ^ Beck, Kellen (December 22, 2017). "Poor Will Smith! Critics tore apart Netflix's first hopeful blockbuster, 'Bright'". Mashable. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
  35. ^ Rodriguez, Ashley (January 24, 2018). "Netflix explains why a movie like "Bright" can bomb with critics and kill with audiences". Retrieved March 18, 2019./
  36. ^ 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 January 2, 2019.
  37. ^ Sells, Shelby. "Interview Series: Max Landis". Internet Wayback Machine. Shelby Sells. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2018.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  38. ^ J. M. Baker, Katie. "Screenwriter Bro Just Might Be Hollywood's Biggest Fuckwit". Jezebel. 2017 Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  39. ^ a b c Riesman, Abraham. "Who's Afraid of Max Landis?". Vulture. New York Media LLC. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  40. ^ a b Menta, Anna. "SCREENWRITER MAX LANDIS SAYS HE'S 'SICK' OF FEMINIST MEDIA CALLING HIM SEXIST". Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  41. ^ a b Burwick, Kevin. "Max Landis Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women". MovieWeb. WATCHR Media Inc. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  42. ^ Freeman, Molly. "Sexual Assault Allegations Levied at Max Landis on Twitter". Screen Rant. Valnet. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  43. ^ a b Stern, Marlow. "'Bright' Screenwriter Max Landis Accused of Sexual Assault". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company LLC. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  44. ^ Walsh, Shannon. "Max Landis: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Heavy Inc. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  45. ^ Hughes, William. "One of Max Landis' sexual assault accusers comes forward with more details". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  46. ^ Moore, Whitney (2019-06-11). "a dam has been". @tweetneymoore. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  47. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2015-11-18). "'Channel Zero' Anthology Series Gets Greenlight From Syfy For 2-Season Run". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  48. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2016-01-08). "BBC America Gives Series Order to 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  49. ^ @Uptomyknees (September 9, 2014). "MY #SCP! If you like it, please upvote!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  50. ^ i09

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