Landis at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
|Parent(s)||John Landis |
Deborah Nadoolman Landis
Max Landis (//; 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.
Landis was born in Beverly Hills, California, the son of director John Landis and costume designer and historian Deborah Nadoolman Landis. His family is Jewish. He left Beverly Hills High School for a therapeutic boarding school in Connecticut, but still graduated with a Beverly Hills High School diploma.
Max Landis appeared briefly in some of his father's films, including The Stupids, Blues Brothers 2000, and Burke and Hare. He started writing at 16, and sold his first script at the age of 18, a collaboration with his father on the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman". In 2008 he independently wrote an unaired episode for the series' second incarnation as Fear Itself. The same year, he wrote Back to Mysterious Island, a mini-series for Bluewater Comics.
While attending the University of Miami, 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. 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 released to mixed reviews in 2015.
He sold Chronicle, a script previously included on the Black List of promising unproduced screenplays, to 20th Century Fox's Davis Entertainment. Directed by Josh Trank, 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. Davis and Fox also bought Landis' script for a film based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, 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.
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, but the series was not produced. In 2012 Landis began work on his directorial debut, Me Him Her, which received a limited released in March 2016 to mixed reviews.
In February 2015, Landis directed Ariana Grande's music video "One Last Time". 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.
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. Landis was later hired as a consultant for WWE Raw.
In 2016, Netflix began production on Landis' script for Bright, then its most expensive self-produced film. Featuring magical fantasy characters such as orcs as an allegory for racism, the film was critically panned upon its release in December 2017, but Netflix reported that it was popular with its subscribers.
Landis has been criticized for statements he has made about women, and he has been accused of abuse and sexual misconduct by several women.
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." 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". Landis later claimed to have been drunk during the interview.
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". 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".
Sexual assault accusations
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. Following Akana's statement, others confirmed Landis' reputation by name. 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." In June 2019, Landis' former girlfriend Whitney Moore posted on Twitter about Landis, referring to "horrific, inhumane things he did to me".
|2012||Chronicle||Yes||Story co-written with Josh Trank|
|2015||Me Him Her||Yes||Yes|
|Victor Frankenstein||Yes||Based on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley|
|2005||Masters of Horror||Yes||1 episode: "Deer Woman"|
|2009||Fear Itself||Yes||1 episode: "Something with Bite"|
|2016–2017||Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency||Yes||Yes||Creator. Based on the novels by Douglas Adams.|||
|2012||The Death and Return of Superman||Yes||Yes||Role: Himself|
|2015||Wrestling Isn't Wrestling||Yes||Yes||Yes||Role: Himself|
|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"|
|2015||"One Last Time"||Ariana Grande||Director|
|1996||The Stupids||Graffiti Artist|
|1998||Blues Brothers 2000||Ghostrider|
|2010||Burke & Hare||Handsome Coachman|
|2015||Me Him Her||Party Bystander|
|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|
|2016||Green Valley||Writer||Image Comics|
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