Peter Landesman

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Peter Landesman
Peter Landesman Deauville 2013.jpg
Landesman at the 2013 Deauville Film Festival
Born (1965-01-03) 3 January 1965 (age 57)
OccupationScreenwriter, film director, producer, journalist, novelist, painter
Known forConcussion (feature film)
The Girls Next Door (article)

Peter Landesman (born 3 January 1965) is an American screenwriter, film director, producer, journalist, novelist and painter. He wrote a number of cover stories for The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and others, including investigations into global arms trafficking, sex trafficking, refugee trafficking, the Rwandan genocide, and the creation and smuggling of forged and stolen art and antiquities. He also reported from the conflicts in Kosovo, Rwanda, and Pakistan and Afghanistan post-9/11.

As a filmmaker, he wrote and directed the biographical films Parkland (2013), Concussion (2015) and Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017).


Landesman wrote his first fiction book The Raven, which was published in 1995, for which he won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction.[1]

Landesman's article The Girls Next Door about sex slaves and the trafficking of young and often underage girls into and through the United States, was featured as the cover story in the January 24, 2004 issue of The New York Times Magazine.[2] Daniel Radosh had a public dispute with Landesman, when Radosh challenged the facts of the article. A series of articles about the dispute by Jack Shafer in the magazine Slate turned the issue of the article's accuracy into one of the most controversial topics in journalism during the first half of 2004.[3] The details of the expose were challenged. That piece triggered a national conversation on sex trafficking in this country, and, notwithstanding the controversy over Landesman's accuracy, won Landesman his second Overseas Press Club Award, this one for Best Human Rights Reporting. The article was adapted into a film Trade deals with human trafficking out of Mexico and a brother's attempt to rescue his kidnapped and trafficked young sister. The film was released in 2007.[4]

In his debut, Landesman wrote and directed the historical film Parkland, based on the book Four Days in November: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi.[5] The film is about the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. James Badge Dale and Zac Efron starred in the film, which was released in 2013.[6]

Landesman also wrote the script of a 2014 thriller film Kill the Messenger, a true story about a journalist Gary Webb, based on two books Kill the Messenger by Nick Schou and Dark Alliance by Webb.[7] The film stars Jeremy Renner and was directed by Michael Cuesta.[7]

Landesman wrote and directed the 2015 sports drama film Concussion starring Will Smith, about the Pittsburgh forensic pathologist who uncovered the disease, CTE, in football players, the result of years of concussions and thousands of sub-concussive blows. The pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu (Smith's character) makes a David v Goliath journey to tell the truth about the dangers of football in the face of criticism and pressure from the NFL and mainstream media. The film was released on December 25, 2015.[8] Landesman co-wrote HBO's 2017 adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.[9]

Landesman directed the 2017 thriller Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, starring Liam Neeson as Mark Felt, the whistleblower Deep Throat who exposed President Nixon.[10] Diane Lane played Felt's wife, Audrey.[11] The film was released September 29, 2017 by Sony Pictures Classics.[12]

Announced projects[edit]

In October 2008, Warner Bros. acquired the rights to an action thriller Colombian hostage pitch, and set Landesman to write the script of the film.[13] In June 2011, it was reported that David O. Russell and Brad Pitt were in talks to direct and star in the film, respectively. The film about 15 hostages in the Colombian jungle was titled as The Mission.[14]

In October 2013, Landesman was set to re-write and direct Down by the River, based on a 2002 non-fiction book of same name by Charles Bowden, while Henry Bean wrote the first script.[15]

Political activism[edit]

Being of Jewish descent, in August 2015 he signed – as one of 98 members of the Los Angeles Jewish community – an open letter supporting the proposed nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers led by the United States "as being in the best interest of the United States and Israel."[16][17]


  • 1995 – The Raven
  • 1999 - Blood Acre


Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
2007 Trade No Yes Executive Story only; co-wrote with Jose Rivera
2013 Parkland Yes Yes No Directorial debut
2014 Kill the Messenger No Yes Executive
2015 Concussion Yes Yes No
2017 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks No Yes No TV Movie; co-wrote with Alexander Woo and George C. Wolfe
Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House Yes Yes Yes


  1. ^ Hart, Hugh. "When JFK Flatlined". Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  2. ^ Landesman, Peter (25 January 2004). "The Girls Next Door". The New York Times Magazine (January 25, 2004): 9. Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  3. ^ "Assessing Landesman". Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  4. ^ GLEIBERMAN, OWEN (September 26, 2007). "Trade – review". Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  5. ^ Richford, Rhonda (September 6, 2013). "Deauville: 'Parkland's' Peter Landesman on Tackling JFK's Assassination and Moving From Journalism to Film (Q&A)". Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  6. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 1, 2013). "Venice Film Review: 'Parkland'". Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Cunningham, Todd (March 5, 2014). "Jeremy Renner's 'Kill the Messenger' Gets Fall Release Date". Retrieved January 31, 2015.
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (January 27, 2015). "Will Smith's 'Concussion' Drama Set for Christmas Release". Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Synopsis".
  10. ^ Jones, Nate. "Deep Throat Movie to Let Liam Neeson Show Off a New Particular Set of Skills". Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  11. ^ McNary, Dave (5 November 2015). "Diane Lane Joins Liam Neeson's Spy Thriller 'Felt'". Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  12. ^ "Mark Felt:The Man Who Brought Down the White House". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 6, 2017.
  13. ^ Fleming, Michael (October 22, 2008). "WB nabs Colombian hostage pitch". Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 29, 2011). "Warner Bros Mobilizing Colombia Hostage Drama 'The Mission,' Courting David O Russell And Brad Pitt". Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  15. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 3, 2013). "'Parkland' Helmer Peter Landesman To Direct Scott Stuber-Produced 'Down By The River'". Retrieved February 3, 2015.
  16. ^ Jewish Journal: "What do 98 L.A. Jewish leaders think about the Iran agreement?" August 13, 2015
  17. ^ Abramovitch, Seth (August 12, 2015). "Hollywood reporter: "98 Prominent Hollywood Jews Back Iran Nuclear Deal in Open Letter (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.

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