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)
OccupationScreenwriter, film director, producer, comic book writer, actor
Years active2001–present
Parent(s)John Landis
Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Max Landis (/ˈlændɪs/; born August 3, 1985) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, and comic book writer who wrote the films Chronicle (2012), American Ultra (2015), Victor Frankenstein (2015), and Bright (2017), as well as a variety of short films including The Death and Return of Superman and Wrestling Isn't Wrestling. He was 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.

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]


Since he started writing at 16, Landis has written 75 screenplays.[5] He sold his first script at the age of 18, a collaboration with his father, John, on the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman".[6] He would later be asked to return to the series in its second incarnation, Fear Itself, independently penning the episode "Something with Bite".[7] He also wrote for Bluewater Productions' Back to Mysterious Island, a 2008 comic series.[8] Landis has made cameo appearances in a number of John Landis' films, including The Stupids, Blues Brothers 2000 and Burke and Hare.[9] In 2011 and 2012, Landis was listed among Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" young people to watch in the entertainment industry.[10]

While attending the University of Miami,[11] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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,[14] and takes a different approach to handling superpowered characters.[15]

Chronicle was released on February 3, 2012. It received wide acclaim and Rotten Tomatoes gives it an approval rating of 85% based on review from 171 critics, and the site's consensus says the film "transcends its gimmicks with a smart script, fast-paced direction, and engaging performances from its young, talented cast".[16] 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.[17] The film opened in 2,907 theaters and exceeded expectations by grossing $22,000,000 to top the weekend box office.[18] It eventually grossed over $126,000,000.[19] Landis wrote a draft for a sequel, but Fox was unhappy with the draft and Landis is no longer working on the project.[20][21]

Davis and Fox again opted to team with Landis for a film based on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.[22]

In September 2012, Landis created a TV series and sold it to Fox and planned to 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 also wrote the pilot script.[23] Though the initial report described the show as a "superhero police drama," Landis said that it is not a superhero show and "has more in common with The Wire than Smallville."[24]

On the same day Chronicle was released, Landis released a comedic short 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[25]) 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 and Elizabeth Gillies.[26]

In 2012 Landis began work on his directorial debut Me Him Her.[27][28][29][30] The film was released March 2016.

In February 2015, Landis directed Ariana Grande's music video "One Last Time". He was accused of plagiarising the style and themes of the video from the music video for "You Are the One" by Australian band SAFIA.[31]

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.[32] In response, Triple H described the film as "awesome" and that Landis "gets it".[33] 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.[32][34] Landis was later on secretly hired as a consultant for WWE Raw.[35]

Personal life[edit]

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


Landis has generated controversy with his statements and behavior, receiving criticism from Hollywood personalities and especially from feminist publications.[37][38]

In a 2013 interview which has since been deleted, Landis made comments about ex-partners, saying that he gave an ex-girlfriend a "crippling social anxiety and body dysmorphia disorder", as well as comments about colleagues that many observers saw as openly misogynist and objectifying of women. Landis later claimed to have been drunk during the interview.[39][40][41][38]

In 2015, Landis generated controversy after taking to Twitter and labelling the lead character Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens a "Mary Sue", a term that is often criticised for being sexist. The post sparked a backlash from feminist publications and other Twitter users. Landis admitted he did regret the now-infamous Force Awakens tweet, but stands by his original sentiment. "I regret framing it that way. I didn’t understand that the term 'Mary Sue' had been co-opted".[39][37]

Sexual assault accusations[edit]

On 22 December 2017, Landis was accused of sexual assault by former co-worker Anna Akana. Other Hollywood personalities alleged on social media that he had a reputation for sexual misconduct. MAD Magazine editor Allie Goertz was among them and commented she "couldn’t imagine someone more scared in a post-Harvey Weinstein world." Others alleging his bad reputation were Zoe Quinn, Siobhan Thompson, Lexi Alexander, Mike Drucker and 5 others.[42][43][38][44][45]



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 [46]
2016–2017 Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency Yes Yes Creator. Based on the novels by Douglas Adams. [47]

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[48] Writer SCP Foundation
2015 Superman: American Alien Writer DC Comics Will Eisner Award Nomination, Best Writer[49]
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. ^ "Max Landis talking about screen-writing and Hollywood at Dubai Comic Con". YouTube. 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  6. ^ IMDB: "Masters of Horror" Deer Woman
  7. ^ IMDB: "Fear Itself" Something with Bite
  8. ^ "Back To Mysterious Island #1 – TPB (Issue)". 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2015-10-02.
  9. ^ IMDB:Max Landis
  10. ^ Dorothy Pomerantz (2011-12-19). "Max Landis, Screenwriter, 26". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  11. ^ Tanya Thompson (2008-10-05). "Spotted On Site: Max Landis". The Miami Hurricane. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  12. ^ Sneider, Jeff (2011-02-08). "Max Landis on a spec-selling streak". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  13. ^ Sauriol, Patrick (2010-12-15). "The Black List of 2010 – Part 2". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  14. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 11, 2010). "Fox picks up Max Landis' 'Chronicle' script". Variety.
  15. ^ Kelly, Tim (2010-08-26). "Max Landis sets the record straight on his movie Chronicle". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  16. ^ "Chronicle". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  17. ^ "Chronicle". 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  18. ^ Downey, Ryan J. (2012-02-06). "'Chronicle' Makes Fourth Highest Super Bowl Debut". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  19. ^ "Chronicle". Box Office Mojo. 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  20. ^ Brooks, Brian. "Max Landis Set To Write 'Chronicle 2' For Fox". Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  21. ^ Fox Isn't Happy With 'Chronicle' Sequel Script, John Landis Says, MTV (October 11, 2012).
  22. ^ "Frankenstein Coming To Life for Fox". 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  23. ^ "'Homeland's' Howard Gordon, 'Chronicle' Scribe Sell 'Superhero' Police Drama to Fox (Exclusive)". 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  24. ^ Twitter / Uptomyknees
  25. ^ "Drunk Comic Book History Chronicles". 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  26. ^ "VOTD: Max Landis' 'The Death and Return of Superman'". 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  27. ^ Armitage, Hugh (2012-11-06). "'Chronicle's Max Landis to direct sexual identity film 'Me Him Her' – Movies News". Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  28. ^ "Max Landis Sets His Directorial Debut in Indie Comedy 'Me Him Her'". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  29. ^ "Max Landis Directing Me Him Her | Movie News | Empire". Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  30. ^ "Max Landis' directing debut: 'Me Him Her'". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  31. ^ "Ariana Grande's 'One Last Time' Video Could Bring About The End Of The WORLD". Capital FM. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  32. ^ a b Johnson, Mike. "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling – Screenwriter Max Landis produces ode to professional wrestling". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  33. ^ Martin, Adam. "Triple H comments on Max Landis wrestling parody". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  34. ^ "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.
  35. ^ "Max Landis Reveals He's a Consultant for WWE". 411MANIA. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
  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. ^ a b Menta, Anna. "SCREENWRITER MAX LANDIS SAYS HE'S 'SICK' OF FEMINIST MEDIA CALLING HIM SEXIST". Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  38. ^ a b c Stern, Marlow. "'Bright' Screenwriter Max Landis Accused of Sexual Assault". The Daily Beast. The Daily Beast Company LLC. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  39. ^ a b Riesman, Abraham. "Who's Afraid of Max Landis?". Vulture. New York Media LLC. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  40. ^ 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)
  41. ^ J. M. Baker, Katie. "Screenwriter Bro Just Might Be Hollywood's Biggest Fuckwit". Jezebel. 2017 Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  42. ^ Burwick, Kevin. "Max Landis Accused of Sexual Harassment by Multiple Women". MovieWeb. WATCHR Media Inc. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  43. ^ Freeman, Molly. "Sexual Assault Allegations Levied at Max Landis on Twitter". Screen Rant. Valnet. Retrieved 14 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 AV Club. Retrieved 2019-03-02.
  46. ^ Hipes, Patrick (2015-11-18). "'Channel Zero' Anthology Series Gets Greenlight From Syfy For 2-Season Run". Deadline. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  47. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2016-01-08). "BBC America Gives Series Order to 'Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency'". Variety. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  48. ^ @Uptomyknees (September 9, 2014). "MY #SCP! If you like it, please upvote!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  49. ^ i09

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