So, Max Landis is trying to make a comeback.
Yup, that’s right: The worst example of Hollywood nepotism who was accused of sexual misconduct by no fewer than eight women, the guy who actively made Film Twitter a worse place to be through his misogyny and endless attacks on critics, is trying to crawl his way out of the gutter. Sadly, we all expected this would happen at some point. Patriarchy will always offer the nastiest and most dangerous of men a second, third, or seventy-fifth chance, regardless of their crimes. Landis has decided that less than a year of being quiet after a massive expose of his alleged abuses is time enough for him to fake the vaguest display of penitence.
As noted by director Scott Derrickson, Landis has started a new Instagram page for his latest endeavor. Glass Planet Consulting will, allegedly, be a ‘holistic creative coaching and consulting resource for screenwriters living and working in Los Angeles.’ If you’re wondering what the hell a holistic creative coaching session looks like, join the club. It sounds culty as hell, whatever it is. The account has now been set to private and its launch date moved two days back, most likely because everyone pointed out how skeezy it would have been for an accused harasser and abuser to launch his comeback on March 8th, International Women’s Day. Landis then took to his own Instagram account to say, ‘Nothing is gonna stop me from taking this next chapter in my life and trying to turn it into something pro-active and positive.’ Shockingly, he didn’t acknowledge the myriad accusations made against him.
If you’re looking for a script consultant who is a disgraced hack writer and sociopathic sexual predator/rapist — Max Landis is back online and open for Instagram business. pic.twitter.com/DABfHvJWUC— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) February 26, 2020
It shocked absolutely nobody that Landis would have the gall to announce his slimy comeback in the same week that Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape. If nothing else, his inescapable presence was a handy reminder of the crushing reality of the industry and its attitudes towards abusers: Let some time pass then act as if nothing happened. Landis hasn’t officially been charged with anything and his new business seems to be an independent entity so the dynamics aren’t entirely comparable to, say, Bryan Singer being allowed to do whatever the hell he wants with studio backing. Still, Landis’s tactics and the narrative he is trying to force with his own comeback are further proof that he hasn’t changed, that he probably never will change, and that white male mediocrity will always find a way to fail upwards.
Max Landis is a bad writer. His work is weakly written, highly derivative, and every character sounds like the same person (that person being Max Landis.) Even actors from the films made of his screenplays have criticized him for this, most notably Daniel Radcliffe. Critics have consistently maligned his work and audiences have stayed away from the cinema in droves. He is, to put it bluntly, a critical and commercial failure, and yet he received opportunity after opportunity to screw things up some more. This is the man who was infamously paid millions of dollars for the script to Netflix’s Bright, after all, and we all know how that worked out. It was this consistent garnering of lucrative gigs despite all evidence pointing to future financial loss for the studio that made him so aggravating a figure. It didn’t help that he kept insisting that his family name had nothing to do with his success. Spoiler: Of course it did. Besides, those denials didn’t stop him from wielding his daddy like a weapon whenever he needed to silence another victim.
And yet Landis had and still has fans. He always had a small but zealously loyal fandom at his beck and call, and he had no qualms about weaponizing them for his own benefit. Anyone unlucky enough to have been a victim of his name-searching narcissism on Twitter will be all too familiar with the tactics he employed. I myself experienced this nonsense and had to deal with the messy fallout as he found me talking about him, shared it with his goons, then left me to go on a mute-block-report spree with these men (and yes, it was almost exclusively men.)
Landis’s infamy came less from his terrible work and more through how he used that undeserved position of creative and industry authority to garner power and influence with the worst recesses of the internet. He always had an opinion on the pop-culture issue of the day, as well as hastily churned out script pages to prove how he could improve the works of others. He talked over everyone, even those he agreed with because he had to be the loudest and most important voice in the room at any given time. Because his knowledge of screenwriter and that area of the entertainment conglomerate vaguely defined as ‘geek culture’ seemed so vast and unabashedly fanboyish, he emanated enough of an appealing allure for people to listen. Landis was also savvy in who he pandered to, playing heavily to the internet and podcasting world by appearing on popular shows like Red Letter Media and Doug Loves Movies. He wasn’t a critic. No, they were the enemies. He was a ‘creative’ who was also a fan, and in an age where the legitimacy and cultural force of criticism has been consistently diluted and maligned as oppositional, he was right at home.
Of course, we cannot talk about Landis without discussing his misogyny and how he used that as a means to attract power and fans. I’m not just talking about the alleged rapes, harassment, and abuse, although that was certainly a way he exerted his stronghold over many in his industry. Anyone who encountered him online knew his endgame and how sexism played into it. The entire disgusting ‘Rey is a Mary Sue’ argument surrounding Star Wars originated from him. It was Landis who deliberately misread a piece of pop culture as a way for him to pander to the most hostile figures in its fandom. He also infamously said that ‘the only reason’ he could come up with to explain why Gamora and Peter Quill weren’t getting it on in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is ‘that Gamora like… maybe doesn’t have a vagina or something?’ Yes, Landis is a garden variety misogynist and that’s nothing new online but the way he took lessons from the alt-right playbook and used that sexist rhetoric to win over fans who would become loyal enough to him to be his unofficial internet attack dogs was especially unnerving, especially coming from a supposed industry professional. In the aftermath of GamerGate, the Sad Puppies, and everything surrounding the Ghostbusters reboot, Landis felt like a dangerous figure to be around. On top of that, he was one of the first people to falsely claim that critics were being paid off by publicists for good reviews. He eventually retracted that lie but the damage was done and many of us still face attacks based on that smear to this day. Landis knew exactly what he was doing when he said that.
Frankly, he remains an insidious figure, even stripped of his Hollywood glitz. Sadly, he still has his defenders online and his comeback is dependent on his questionable status as a creative authority figure. He may not be churning out the scripts himself (although I’m far too pessimistic to imagine he isn’t doing so under a pseudonym that’s still getting him work) but it’s telling that he wants to continue being a top dog in his field through ‘consulting.’ Script consultancy is a field that is notoriously full of chancers, scammers, and hacks, so at least Landis will fit right in. He could have done this quietly or under a different name and been unbothered for at least a few months but no, he wants everyone to know that he’s Max Landis and that Max Landis is still someone who should be paid for his Hollywood advice.
That really exemplifies the central problem with so many of these sh*tty male comeback narratives. They talk of penance and learning their lesson (or they just ignore everything) then they expect to go back to the top of the pecking order, no questions asked. They see it as their right to return to power, influence, and adoration. Landis is too egotistical to be humble in any way. In his mind, he has no reason to show humility because he was catapulted to the upper echelons of the business through nepotism and misogynistic pandering. He didn’t struggle to get to the top so why should he struggle to return to his perch?
I like to think that we’re all far too smart to ever give Landis our time and money or that credit of expertise he so desperately craves. Alas, Hollywood’s predator problem has not gone away just because Harvey’s off to jail. Landis will probably still attract some attention from people who are hardened to the insidious abuses of the industry. Yeah, he’s a bully and a creep and an accused rapist but he did sell a few scripts and sometimes you just have to buck up and get on with it to succeed, right? Fortunately, Landis spent so many years making people loathe him that he’s hardly surrounded by industry allies willing to support his new endeavor.
Max Landis famously tried to call Pajiba out and said he would love to talk to us one day, apparently because if we just sat down with him and had a nice chat, we’d see what kind of person he really is. Given his penchant for name-searching himself, he’s probably reading this very article. Hi, Max. I hope you fail miserably in everything you do for the rest of your life. F**k right off!
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