Max Landis (born August 3, 1985) is a screenwriter, director, producer, comic book writer and son of director John Landis. He is best known for writing Chronicle, Victor Frankenstein, American Ultra and Bright as well as Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, the TV adaptation of the Douglas Adams Dirk Gently book series, which ran for two seasons on BBC America.
Landis is personally known for releasing a series of short films and videos, including the well known "educational parody film" The Death and Return of Superman, in which he recounts Superman's infamous death and return with the help of numerous celebrity friends. He followed up in 2015 with Wrestling Isn't Wrestling, an exploration of professional wrestling through the kayfabe story of Triple H's career, with the wrestlers portrayed by female models. This film actually impressed both Triple H and his wife Stephanie McMahon so much that it earned him a position as a creative consultant for WWE Raw.
Landis is known for his eccentric personality, possessing a frequently bizarre fashion sense, an ability to spontaneously generate film pitches, and a near-encyclopedic knowledge of comics and film. He has attracted controversy on several occasions for his significant social media presence, apparent high opinion of his own work (frequently blaming others for any problems in his films), sense of entitlement, hipster lifestyle, supposed It's Popular, Now It Sucks! mentality, and multiple accusations of sexism, which as noted below, weren't unjustified.
On a far more serious note, perhaps the most current reason Landis's name is known is due to the serious emotional and sexual abuse accusations that were leveled against him in the late 2010s, as well as allegations that his behavior was known in the entertainment industry but protected due to the connections of him and his father. As a result, his star power and influence has dwindled in recent years.
List of his selected works
- Chronicle: (2012) Writer
- American Ultra: (2015) Writer
- Victor Frankenstein: (2015) Writer
- Bright: (2017) Writer
- Shadow in the Cloud: (2020) Writer
Tropes applying to Landis' works:
- Affectionate Parody:
- Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: Had half a dozen different projects in production in the years after Chronicle.
- Cross-Cast Role:
- The Death and Return of Superman features Whitney Moore, Jennifer Newman, and Jezlan Moyet as Batman, Robin, and Nightwing, respectively.
- Wrestling Isn't Wrestling retells the first 20 years of Triple H's WWE career with a predominantly-female cast, headed by Chloe Dykstra as Triple H. Male wrestlers like Triple H, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker are played by women, and the only featured female wrestler, Chyna, is played by a man (Sam Witwer). All other parts are played by their sex.
- Epileptic Trees: If "A Scar no-one else can See" is anything to go by, he is very fond of these.
- Executive Meddling: Fox told him to rewrite his script for Chronicle 2 as it wasn't enough of a retread of the first movie.
- "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Several times throughout Wrestling Isn't Wrestling.
- Promoted Fanboy:
- Big fan of the Screen Junkies' movie debate show, Movie Fights. He was actually featured as one of the gladiators in Episode 47.
- He's also a fan of RedLetterMedia. They interviewed him after they reviewed American Ultra, and he appeared on an episode of Best of the Worst.
- He's writing the critically-acclaimed DC Comics miniseries Superman: American Alien.
- "Wrestling Isn't Wrestling" led to him being given a position as a creative consultant for WWE. Triple H has claimed that Max Landis is one of the few members of the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) who fully "gets" wrestling.