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.

<i>Chronicle</i> (film) 2012 film by Josh Trank

Chronicle is a 2012 American found footage superhero science-fiction thriller film directed by Josh Trank and written by Max Landis based on a story by both. It follows three Seattle high school seniors, bullied Andrew ; his cousin Matt ; and more popular Steve — who form a bond after gaining telekinetic powers from an unknown crystalline object found underground.

<i>American Ultra</i> 2015 film by Nima Nourizadeh

American Ultra is a 2015 American action comedy film directed by Nima Nourizadeh and written by Max Landis. The film stars Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo, Bill Pullman, and Tony Hale. It was released on August 21, 2015, by Lionsgate.

<i>Victor Frankenstein</i> (film) 2015 film by Paul McGuigan

Victor Frankenstein is a 2015 American science fantasy horror film based on contemporary adaptations of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel Frankenstein. It is directed by Paul McGuigan and written by Max Landis, and stars James McAvoy as Victor Frankenstein and Daniel Radcliffe as Igor. The film was released by 20th Century Fox on November 25, 2015.


Early life

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]

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

John Landis American film director, screenwriter and producer

John David Landis is an American film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer. He is best known for the comedy films that he has directed, such as National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980), An American Werewolf in London (1981), Trading Places (1983), Three Amigos (1986), Coming to America (1988) and Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), and for directing Michael Jackson's music videos for "Thriller" (1983) and "Black or White" (1991).

Deborah Nadoolman Landis American costume designer and professor

Deborah Nadoolman Landis is an American author, historian, professor, and costume designer. She worked on such notable films as Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Three Amigos, all of which credited her as Deborah Nadoolman. Landis served two terms as president of the Costume Designers Guild of which she has been a member for more than thirty years. She is married to director John Landis; their son is screenwriter Max Landis.


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]

<i>Masters of Horror</i> US television series

Masters of Horror is an American anthology television series created by director Mick Garris for the Showtime cable network.

Deer Woman (<i>Masters of Horror</i>) 7th episode of the first season of Masters of Horror

"Deer Woman" is the seventh episode of the first season of Masters of Horror. It originally aired in North America on December 9, 2005.

<i>Fear Itself</i> (TV series) horror/suspense anthology television series

Fear Itself is a horror/suspense anthology television series shot in the city of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with some additional shooting in the city of St. Albert and the town of Devon, Alberta. It began airing on June 5, 2008 on NBC.

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]

University of Miami private university in Coral Gables, Florida, United States

The University of Miami is a private, nonsectarian research university in Coral Gables, Florida, United States. As of 2018, the university enrolls 17,331 students in 12 separate colleges/schools, including the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine in Miami's Health District, a law school on the main campus, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science focused on the study of oceanography and atmospheric sciences on Virginia Key, with research facilities at the Richmond Facility in southern Miami-Dade County.

A spec script, also known as a speculative screenplay, is a non-commissioned and unsolicited screenplay. It is usually written by a screenwriter who hopes to have the script optioned and eventually purchased by a producer, production company, or studio.

John Andrew Davis is an American film producer and founder of Davis Entertainment.

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]

Rotten Tomatoes American review aggregator for film and television, owned by Fandango

Rotten Tomatoes is an American review-aggregation website for film and television. The company was launched in August 1998 by three undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley: Senh Duong, Patrick Y. Lee, and Stephen Wang. The name "Rotten Tomatoes" derives from the practice of audiences throwing rotten tomatoes when disapproving of a poor stage performance.

<i>Chicago Sun-Times</i> newspaper

The Chicago Sun-Times is a daily newspaper published in Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the flagship paper of the Sun-Times Media Group, with the 2nd biggest circulation in Chicago.

Roger Ebert American film critic, author, journalist, and TV presenter

Roger Joseph Ebert was an American film critic, historian, journalist, screenwriter, and author. He was a film critic for the Chicago Sun-Times from 1967 until his death in 2013. In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.

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

Mary Shelley English novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist who wrote the Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft.

<i>Frankenstein</i> 1818 novel by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley (1797–1851) that tells the story of Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a hideous, sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared on the second edition, published in 1823.

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

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

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]



YearTitleCredited asNotes
2012 Chronicle YesStory co-written with Josh Trank
2015 Me Him Her YesYes
American Ultra Yes
Victor Frankenstein YesBased on Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Mr. Right YesExecutive
2017 Bright YesExecutive


YearTitleCredited asNotesRef.
WriterExecutive producer
2005 Masters of Horror Yes1 episode: "Deer Woman"
2009 Fear Itself Yes1 episode: "Something with Bite"
2016–2017 Channel Zero Yes [46]
2016–2017 Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency YesYesCreator. Based on the novels by Douglas Adams. [47]

Short film

YearTitleCredited asNotes
2012 The Death and Return of Superman YesYesRole: Himself
2015 Wrestling Isn't Wrestling YesYesYesRole: Himself

Web series

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

2015"One Last Time" Ariana Grande Director

Acting credits

1996 The Stupids Graffiti Artist
1998 Blues Brothers 2000 Ghostrider
2010 Burke & Hare Handsome Coachman
2015 Me Him Her Party Bystander


2014SCP-2137 – The Forensic Ghost of Tupac Shakur [48] Writer SCP Foundation
2015Superman: American AlienWriter DC Comics Will Eisner Award Nomination, Best Writer [49]
2016Green ValleyWriter Image Comics

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