Max Landis

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Max Landis
Max Landis 2012.jpg
Landis in 2012
Born (1985-08-03) August 3, 1985 (age 30)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Screenwriter, film director
Years active 2005–present
Parent(s) John Landis
Deborah Nadoolman Landis

Max Landis (born August 3, 1985) is an American screenwriter, director, producer, 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. 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 New England, but still graduated with a Beverly Hills High School diploma.[3]


Since he started writing at 16, Landis has written 75 screenplays.[4] He sold his first script at the age of 18, a collaboration with his father, John, on the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman".[5] He would later be asked to return to the series in its second incarnation, Fear Itself, independently penning the episode "Something with Bite".[6] He also wrote for Bluewater Productions' Back to Mysterious Island, a 2008 comic series.[7] Landis has made cameo appearances in a number of John Landis' films, including The Stupids, Blues Brothers 2000 and Burke and Hare.[8] In 2011 and 2012, Landis was listed among Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" young people to watch in the entertainment industry.[9]

While attending the University of Miami,[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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,[13] and takes a different approach to handling superpowered characters.[14]

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".[15] 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.[16] The film opened in 2,907 theaters and exceeded expectations by grossing $22,000,000 to win the weekend box office.[17] It has grossed over $126,000,000.[18] It was announced in early March that Landis would pen a sequel for Fox.[19] On October 10, 2012 it was revealed that Fox was unhappy with Landis' draft for Chronicle 2.[20] 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.[21] The adaptation is rumored to be a retelling of the story from Igor's point of view.[22] The character breakdowns from Landis' script also suggest that the tale has been transported to a circus setting.[23] In September 2012, it was announced that Sherlock and Push director Paul McGuigan will be the movie's director.[24]

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.[25] 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."[26]

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[27]) 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.[28]

In 2012 Landis began work on his directorial debut Me Him Her. The film began production in late 2012,[29][30][31][32] 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.

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]

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]

Personal life[edit]

In 2014, Landis joined the SCP Foundation fiction project.[43]



Year Title Notes
1996 The Stupids Role: Graffiti Artist
1998 Blues Brothers 2000 Role: Ghostrider
2010 Burke & Hare Role: Handsome Coachman
2012 Chronicle Writer
2015 American Ultra Writer
2015 Victor Frankenstein Writer
2016 Me Him Her Writer, director, role: Senator Dirtbike
2016 Mr. Right Writer
Awaiting release


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Masters of Horror Writer Episode: "Deer Woman"
2009 Fear Itself Writer Episode: "Something with Bite"
2014 Homemade Movies David Kessler Episode: "American Werewolf in London Transformation"
2016 Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Short films[edit]

Year Title Role
2008 Dupe Writer
2008 Tumbler Writer
2009 Ghost Closet '07 Writer, role: Ghost Girl / Ghost Cowboy 1 / The Gentleman Ghost
2012 The Death and Return of Superman Director, writer
2014 The Slap Director, producer
2015 Wrestling Isn't Wrestling Director, writer, producer, himself

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Role
2015 "One Last Time" Director


  1. ^ JWeekly: "celebrity jews" by nate bloom February 2, 2012
  2. ^ JSpace: "Forbes Features Members of the Tribe In 30 Under 30" December 29, 2011
  3. ^ Script Magazine: Mad Max Archived May 4, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Max Landis talking about screen-writing and Hollywood at Dubai Comic Con". YouTube. 2012-04-22. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  5. ^ IMDB: "Masters of Horror" Deer Woman
  6. ^ IMDB: "Fear Itself" Something with Bite
  7. ^ "Back To Mysterious Island #1 - TPB (Issue)". 2014-02-02. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  8. ^ IMDB:Max Landis
  9. ^ Dorothy Pomerantz (2011-12-19). "Max Landis, Screenwriter, 26". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  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. ^ Sauriol, Patrick (2010-12-15). "The Black List of 2010 - Part 2". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  13. ^ McClintock, Pamela (August 11, 2010). "Fox picks up Max Landis' 'Chronicle' script". Variety. 
  14. ^ Kelly, Tim (2010-08-26). "Max Landis sets the record straight on his movie Chronicle". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  15. ^ "Chronicle". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  16. ^ "Chronicle". 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  17. ^ Downey, Ryan J. (2012-02-06). "'Chronicle' Makes Fourth Highest Super Bowl Debut". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  18. ^ "Chronicle". Box Office Mojo. 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  19. ^ Brooks, Brian. "Max Landis Set To Write 'Chronicle 2' For Fox". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  20. ^ Fox Isn't Happy With 'Chronicle' Sequel Script, John Landis Says, MTV (October 11, 2012).
  21. ^ "Frankenstein Coming To Life for Fox". 2011-06-22. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  22. ^ Brodesser, Claude. "Ron Howard's ''Dark Tower'' Project Looks Very Wobbly". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  23. ^ Turek, Ryan (2011-08-19). "Exclusive: Character Breakdowns for Max Landis-Penned ''Frankenstein''". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  24. ^ "'Sherlock' Director Boards Fox's 'Frankenstein'". 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  25. ^ "'Homeland's' Howard Gordon, 'Chronicle' Scribe Sell 'Superhero' Police Drama to Fox (Exclusive)". 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  26. ^ Twitter / Uptomyknees
  27. ^ "Drunk Comic Book History Chronicles". 2012-02-03. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  28. ^ "VOTD: Max Landis’ ‘The Death and Return of Superman’". 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  29. ^ Armitage, Hugh (2012-11-06). "'Chronicle's Max Landis to direct sexual identity film 'Me Him Her' - Movies News". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  30. ^ "Max Landis Sets His Directorial Debut in Indie Comedy 'Me Him Her'". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  31. ^ "Max Landis Directing Me Him Her | Movie News | Empire". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  32. ^ "Max Landis’ directing debut: ‘Me Him Her’". 2012-11-05. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  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'". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  43. ^ MY #SCP! If you like it, please upvote!, by Max Landis, on Twitter; posted 9 September 2014; retrieved 17 July 2015

External links[edit]