Max Landis (//; 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.
Landis at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
John Maxwell Landis
August 3, 1985
|Occupation||Screenwriter, film director, producer, comic book writer, actor|
|Parent(s)||John Landis |
Deborah Nadoolman 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.
Since he started writing at 16, Landis has written 75 screenplays. He sold his first script at the age of 18, a collaboration with his father, John, on the Masters of Horror episode "Deer Woman". He would later be asked to return to the series in its second incarnation, Fear Itself, independently penning the episode "Something with Bite". He also wrote for Bluewater Productions' Back to Mysterious Island, a 2008 comic series. Landis has made cameo appearances in a number of John Landis' films, including The Stupids, Blues Brothers 2000 and Burke and Hare. In 2011 and 2012, Landis was listed among Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" young people to watch in the entertainment industry.
While attending the University of Miami, 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. 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. 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, and takes a different approach to handling superpowered characters.
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". 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. The film opened in 2,907 theaters and exceeded expectations by grossing $22,000,000 to top the weekend box office. It eventually grossed over $126,000,000. Landis wrote a draft for a sequel, but Fox was unhappy with the draft and Landis is no longer working on the project.
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. 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."
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) 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.
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.
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. In response, Triple H described the film as "awesome" and that Landis "gets it". 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 prowrestling.net said it was "must-see", "innovative" and funny. Landis was later on secretly hired as a consultant for WWE Raw.
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.
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".
Sexual assault accusationsEdit
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." Also among the accusers were Zoe Quinn, Siobhan Thompson, Lexi Alexander, Anthony Burch, Mike Drucker and four others.
|1996||The Stupids||Yes||Graffiti Artist|
|1998||Blues Brothers 2000||Yes||Ghostrider|
|2010||Burke & Hare||Yes||Handsome Coachman|
|2012||Chronicle||Yes||—||Story co-written with Josh Trank|
|2015||Me Him Her||Yes||Yes||Yes||Party Bystander|
|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|
|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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- Twitter / Uptomyknees
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- "Former WWE personalities, independent wrestling stars, and celebrities appear in a short film profiling and parodying the career of Triple H". prowrestling.net. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
- "Max Landis Reveals He's a Consultant for WWE". 411MANIA. Retrieved 24 April 2017.
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