Max Landis is a d*ck. We know this. You know this. It’s one of the biggest non-secrets in the entertainment industry. We’ve written extensively about Landis’s attitude, behaviour, and the myriad allegations made against him by multiple women, including one of his ex-girlfriends. His nastiness is well-documented, from the interview he gave where he ‘joked’ about a girl he gave a crippling social anxiety, self-loathing, body dysmorphia [sp], eating disorder to’ and how he ‘can’t date chicks who haven’t figured out their orgasms’, to the time he made an entire YouTube video to harass director Lexi Alexander when she blocked him on Twitter. And then there’s the many countless incidents of him name-searching himself on social media to attack people talking about him, or simply to set his zealous fans onto them instead. Let’s not forget his stellar cultural criticism that Rey from Star Wars is a Mary Sue, or the 150 page ‘living document’ he wrote on Carly Rae Jepsen that read like a serial killer’s screed. Also, remember the entire hostile, paranoid sh*storm that started when people began claiming critics were bribed by publicists for good reviews? Guess who helped to kickstart that lie? Our buddy Max! (He quickly deleted that tweet then retracted that claim in tweets that were also deleted, but the North remembers). He has always been a toxic individual, even before the many allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and manipulation of women came to light.
But let us not forget one crucial detail about Max Landis: He’s also a terrible screenwriter. We could split hairs about subjective opinions and all that jazz, but this is a man who has written critical and commercial flop after flop and still been given multi-million dollar deals as if he’s Sorkin or Chayefsky. Remember Bright and the $3 million that landed him? Or the masterful Victor Frankenstein, which failed to recoup its $40 million budget? How about Mr. Right, an $8 million movie that could barely scrape past a $400k gross and had the audacity to make dancing Sam Rockwell charmless? His six films where he is credited as screenwriter have an average Rotten Tomatoes score of 45.6% and only one of them could logically be considered a financial success. Even if he weren’t an astoundingly nasty person who multiple women have warned us about, it would be simply mind-boggling to keep giving this dude money to make bad films. But surely we live in a meritocratic society and John Landis’s son got where he is through sheer hard work and… Yeah, sorry, I can’t finish that sentence with a straight face.
Landis kept his head down for a bit after talk around him and his alleged behaviour began to get louder towards the end of 2017, but he’s never fully gone away. Men like him seldom do. He’s also back at work and landing high-profile gigs. For some reason, studios still want to work with him and big name actors are willing to jump through the hoops to make said movies, even though they know exactly how tough the questioning will be from journalists during the junket cycle. What is there to be gained from working with this man? Even if he were a brilliant writer, and he is far from it, would this be worth it in an age where we are justifiably more skeptical of the ‘separate the art from the artist’ excuse than ever? What is worth defending about a nasty alleged abuser who’s actively bad at his job? But still, here we are.
But we are here to save your time and money from potentially disastrous future investments. So here is a list of the Max Landis projects we know are in either the early stages of pre-production or have been announced. As with all things Hollywood, such announcements are no guarantee that these movies will ever get made. But they are worth listing so we can get the full image of just how willing the industry is to give Landis not just work but high-profile gigs that would inevitably bolster his self-created image as a ‘geek king’.
An American Werewolf in London Remake
That’s right, Max is the attached writer AND director of a remake of maybe the most notable film in his dad John’s filmography. It would probably be his legacy if it weren’t for that whole being responsible for the deaths of three people on a movie set due to gross negligence thing. An American Werewolf in London still holds up as a comedy horror classic, with effects that still leave you wondering how the hell Rick Baker pulled that off. This one may have stalled or it could be that there just haven’t been any tangible updates in a while. We’re sure it’s a job Max got all by himself. Something something merits.
Shadow in the Cloud
This project was announced at the beginning of the year, and while Landis’s name wasn’t in any of the headlines, it didn’t take long for people to figure out how he was making his comeback. The film is described as a World War II action horror, centered on a female pilot who must navigate an oncoming Japanese ambush while protecting a bag full of top secret documents. When the project was announced, much was made about its forward thinking pro-woman nature, given that the lead is female (and set to be played by Chloe Grace Moretz) and Roseanne Liang is attached as director. When asked about the Landis problem in an interview with The Guardian, Moretz said, ‘we’ve completely distanced ourselves from him. We’ve rewritten it several times now. His name is kind of far away from the project.’ It’s hard to tell how correct that statement is. While it is true that Landis’s name is not on the IMDb page for the film, WGA rules will probably mean he won’t be entirely without credit should the film get made, and he has most certainly been paid for this privilege.
Pepe Le Pew Movie
The idea of serial misogynist and accused abuser Max Landis making a Pepe Le Pew movie is almost too fitting. It’s the sort of serendipity that makes you question your atheism, or ponder if we’re living in a world written by The Onion. Sexual harassment is hilarious, and oh so smelly! Granted, this thing was announced like three years ago and there’s been zero news on it since, so the chances are that Warner Bros. have smartly shelved this one. Still, aren’t you dying to know which executive greenlit this in the first place?
Around the same time Shadow in the Cloud was announced, another Landis project got off the ground. Deeper has none other than internet favourite Idris Elba attached to star in the lead role, with Baltasar Kormakur, who directed Everest, also on board. Deeper is described as a supernatural thriller about a disgraced astronaut who goes on a deep sea dive and finds something sinister beneath the waves. The Hollywood Reporter, who billed the movie as being similar to Gravity and The Martian, noted how the film was originally acquired by MGM with Bradley Cooper and Gal Gadot attached to star, before one of the pair dropped out and the studio decided to start from scratch. But of course Landis is still the credited screenwriter, and as of February of this year, MGM still plan to move forward with this film, one they’ve clearly invested heavily in given the stars attached.
Our advice to Hollywood at large in regards to these ‘stellar’ projects? You’ve already wasted so much of your money and our time on this guy. Don’t bother.
Header Image Source: Getty Images.