Tag Archive | "Max Landis"

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Max Landis To Script Sony’s HOUNDINI Movie With “Lovecraft Influence”

Posted on 13 January 2014 by Rich Drees


Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis is taking on the writing chores of Sony’s long-in-gestation Harry Houdini film Houdini. Interestingly, the Deadline report is stating that this story will have “an HP Lovecraft influence.”

There’s no further word as to what Deadline actually means by this, but in reality, there was indeed a connection between the escape artist and the horror-fantasy writer. Lovecraft’s editor at Weird Tales magazine hired the writer to ghostwrite a story that Houdini insisted was true in which he was kidnapped and taken to a secret chamber under the Egyptian pyramids where he met the ancient pagan god for which the stone edifices were built. Lovecraft thought that the story was malarkey and received permission from his editor to embellish the tale. Houdini reportedly liked what Lovecraft did with the end result, titled “Under The Pyramids,” so he hired the writer to ghostwrite several other stories and articles for him.

Of course, Landis could be going in an entirely different direction and may be looking to team up the two against one of the eldrich horrors that made up a bulk of Lovecraft’s work.

Sony has been working on developing a Houdini film for some time now. Previously, Scott Frank had been working on the script with Francis Lawrence attached. Things on the project cooled down after Lawrence left to direct The Hunger Games installments Catching Fire and the two-part Mockingjay.

And this isn’t the last of Landis we’ll be hearing of for a while, as the writer noted on twitter feed today that he still has a few more projects in the works that have yet to be announced.

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Max Landis Says His CHRONICLE 2 Script Would Have Explained How Teens Got Their Powers

Posted on 06 November 2013 by Rich Drees


If you were disappointed when Max Landis stated that he would not be writing the sequel to his found footage superhero film Chronicle and were more disappointed when he tweeted out some of the details about his plans for the follow-up, then you probably aren’t going to be too happy by the end of this post.

The screenwriter was talking with Buzzfeed, and he gave out more details of how his sequel screenplay would have explained how teenagers Andrew (Dane DeHaan), Matt (Alex Russell), and Steve (Michael B. Jordan) got psychic powers from what appeared to be a strange crystal they found. Noting that Landis was disappointed that he wouldn’t get to finish the tale he started to tell with director Josh Trank.

Landis had a whole trilogy mapped out in his mind, including the revelation of the mysterious source of the heroes’ powers, Massive Organic Geoelectric Objects, which he says are “a race of crystalline organisms that communicate and propel themselves through radio waves, and turn higher life forms into telekinetic drones.”

Previously Landis had stated that his sequel would have featured two other teens going after the first film’s hero as well as a woman who was determined to become the world’s first supervillain.

Landis’ version of Chronicle 2 was scotched by Twentieth Century Fox, who were concerned that the writer wanted to move the story into a direction that was too dark for them. While this new reveal as to what he had been planning doesn’t point much in the direction of that darkness, it w=does explain who the MOGO mentioned in this tweet was –

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Is Max Landis About To Pitch WONDER WOMAN To Warner Brothers?

Posted on 12 September 2013 by William Gatevackes

Max Landis WW
Reddit has a feature called AMA, or Ask Me Anything, where people from all walks of life can go on there and the Reddit community can ask them, well, anything. Two nights ago, Max Landis (Chronicle) couldn’t get to sleep and decided to start up an AMA. Along the way, Landis’ love of the WWE and comic books came into focus, but what got the most attention was something he said about a certain Amazing Amazon that got the Internet buzzing.

Landis was asked which superhero concept he would like to work on. This was his answer:

Either a version of Green Lantern that played like ET meets Stand By Me using the goth/punk seen and Kyle Raynor, or Wonder-Woman, using a pitch that I intend to make to WB.

While that Green Lantern idea seems like it would have the sense an awe and wonder that the version we got was lacking, the fact that Landis appears ready to official pitch his idea for a Wonder Woman film to Warner Brothers is what got fans all aflutter.

Of course, we must note that this was all Landis said about the pitch in his AMA. It was never addressed again. We don’t know if Warners asked Landis to pitch, if this is a blind pitch that Landis will be making, or if Landis was serious about making a pitch at all. But there is a reason why fans are getting excited.

First, Landis is a talented writer who is a comic geek and would do well with the character and the concept. He is also a hot name in Hollywood nowadays, so his being interested might make a film more of a possibility.

Second, Wonder Woman is DC Entertainment’s third biggest character, right after Batman and Superman. She has a wide reaching and immense fan base that would love to see her on the big screen. The fact that she’s not up there already seems like a travesty.

But Warners supposedly has cold feet about the character, the conventional thinking being that they believe an action oriented film with a female lead won’t sell tickets, regardless if the lead is Wonder Woman or not. But if she is going to be part of the Justice League film, it seems like a solo film is merely an eventuality.

Also, in the same AMA, Landis said the Marvel film he’d most like to make would be a “1970s gritty blaxploitation Heroes For Hire movie” and the comic book story he’d like to adapt would be Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Batman: The Long Halloween. Heroes for Hire has been mentioned as a possible future Marvel film and Landis’ take on the property is spot on. So, Warners, you might want to lock Landis in quick.

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Max Landis Tweets About What His CHRONICLE Sequel Would Have Been About

Posted on 12 August 2013 by Rich Drees


When Max Landis tweeted the news last month that he would not be writing the sequel to his superhero found-footage film Chronicle, he sounded understand disappointed. And now that he has tweeted about what his screenplay was going to be about, I imagine that there are a lot of fans of the first film who will be disappointed as well after reading the following –

From just these small bits, it sounds like Landis has put a lot of careful thought into the world he initially created in the first Chronicle screenplay and was looking forward to exploring it in further depth and in ways that haven’t really been done before in a superhero genre film. And while I suppose we should be grateful that Twentieth Century Fox invested the $12 million it cost to make the first film, it is obvious that the $126 million that the film brought in at the box office is causing them to be very hands on with the sequel. And by hands on, I mean incredibly reluctant to deviate too far from the story of the first film.

In the meantime, the studio has either hired or are still looking for a writer to take over the project. No doubt we’ll find out who has landed the job at some point. More than likely, it will be whomever develops a story idea that the studio deems a safe enough variant on the original to try and not scare fans away from the box office. But with director Josh Trank off working on Fantastic Four for the studio and Landis off the projet, I know that my enthusiasm for a Chronicle sequel is virtually non-existent at this point.

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Max Landis Not Scripting CHRONICLE 2

Posted on 18 July 2013 by Rich Drees

Screenwriter Max Landis had stated that he was anxious to take the sequel to his surprise hit movie of teens who gain telekinetic superpowers into a darker territory than he already explored in the first film. However, he won’t be getting that chance. Last evening, he tweeted that he and studio Twentieth Century Fox had parted ways over him scripting the upcoming Chronicle 2.

This turn of events is unsurprising as his father, director John Landis, had mentioned last October that Max was meeting with some resistance from the studio over where he wanted to take the sequel’s story. For his part, Max seems to be fairly sanguine about this turn of events, perhaps because he grew up seeing his father work on developing projects that didn’t happen for the usual various reasons that potential films fall apart.

While we won’t have a Landis-penned Chronicle sequel in our future, we do have his Frankenstein adaptation to look forward to.

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Fox Wants More Of The Same For CHRONICLE Sequel, Writer Wants To Evolve Story

Posted on 11 October 2012 by Rich Drees

Ever wonder why so many sequels are just “more of the same?” Well, I would bet that it is not because the creative types don’t have new ideas so much as it is studio bean counters who want to play things safe to insure a sequel brings in the same kind of pay the original film did.

Case in point – the sequel currently in development to last spring’s teens with superpowers film Chronicle.

Max Landis, the writer of the first film, has been working hard on the script for the followup. But it seems that he has been encountering some resistance from the studio. The Playlist caught up with Max’s father, John Landis (Animal House, The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf In London), who reported –

[Max] wrote a sequel and it’s amazing… and the studio read it and said, ‘We want ‘Chronicle’ again!’ And he said, ‘No, this is the sequel, it’s the evolution, and they said ‘No, we want that movie again!’ So it’s difficult, we’re dealing with a difficult business.’

This is a none-too-surprising turn of events considering that studios are pretty much run by business school graduates who rely on past consumer habits in their decision making rather than taking a chance on something new.

Now granted, Chronicle was something of a risk for the studio, but with a budget of $12 million it was a small gamble that paid off big in the amount of $126 million at the box office. One would think that that kind of return would earn Landis and director Josh Trank some leeway as to what they do with a sequel. But it seems that the studio is more interested in playing it safe and protecting their investment rather than trusting that the audience will continue to follow the filmmakers as they move on to the next phase of the story they want to tell. Time will tell who wins this particular battle in the continuing war between art and commerce. I just hope that it isn’t the audience who loses.

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Paul McGuigan In Talks To Direct Fox’s Frankenstein Project

Posted on 10 September 2012 by Rich Drees

Fox’s untitled Frankenstein project is moving as the studio has entered into talks with director Paul McGuigan to helm their in-development project based on Mary Shelley’s classic horror novel.

The script for the proposed film is by Chronicle writer Max Landis.

Although Fox has been working on their Frankenstein project for a while, the studio has apparently recently made the film a priority, looking to beat the other Frankenstein related projects in development into theaters. Last fall, Shawn Levy had expressed interest but a solid commitment to the project never materialized.

Although he has the films Lucky Number Slevin and Push to his credit, NcGuigan’s most recent work was three feature-length episodes of the BBC’s popular Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Via Hollywood Reporter.

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Max Landis Will Write CHRONICLE Sequel

Posted on 08 March 2012 by Rich Drees

The success of the found footage film Chronicle has already netted its director Josh Track the job of directing the Sony Pictures’ comic book adaption Venom. Now Chronicle‘s writer is picking up a new job – scripting Chronicle 2.

Max Landis has been hired by Twentieth Century Fox to script a follow up to the film that has already earned $105 million at the box office against its $12 million budget. Landis is also working on a treatment for a new version of Mary Shelly’s classic Frankenstein for the studio for Jay Levy to direct.

As to where the sequel could go storywise, the first film offers a hint at the end with one of three teenagers with amazing telekinetic powers vows to find out the origin of the strange alien artifact that gave them their powers.

Via Deadline.

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New Releases: February 3

Posted on 02 February 2012 by William Gatevackes

1. Chronicle (FOX, 2,907 Theaters, 83 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Here a mix of two things I bet you’d never seen together, a superhero film and a faux-documentary/found footage type of film.

The story, co-written by Max Landis, son of John, deals with four teenagers who develop superpowers. As their powers grow and they become stronger, they must decide what to do with them. Judging from the trailer I’ve seen, some decide to become total douche bags.

As far as I know, this is not adapted from any comic book. Not that similar themes haven’t been explored in that medium before. Absolute power corrupting absolutely is a well-worn theme in comics. Maybe this film will add something new.

2. The Woman In Black (CBS Films, 2,855 Theaters, 95 Minutes, Rated PG-13): Transitioning out of a immensely popular genre role is tough. It’s even harder if it’s a role you have been playing almost exclusively since you were 12. But that is what Daniel Radcliffe is going to begin this week as he stars in his first post-Harry Potter film.

And as a vehicle for the start of the rest of his cinematic life, he might have made a wise choice. He plays a lawyer named Arthur Kipps who comes to a remote town to settle an estate. While there, he finds the town terrified of a woman wearing a black dress, whose presence means a child will soon die. Kipps is forced to solve the mystery of the woman in black before his own child becomes a victim of the curse.

The supernatural theme and PG-13 rating might entice the Potter fanbase in. And the film was produced by Hammer Films, a name that any horror fans would tell you adds luster to the film. Let’s see if that’s enough to encourage audience to stop seeing Radcliffe only as Harry.

3. Big Miracle (Universal, 2,128 Theaters, 107 Minutes, Rated PG): This film is based on a true story dating way back to the year of 1988. I’m going to have a moment of silence for that year, my junior year in high school, being ancient history.

A family of whales get trapped under miles of ice in the northern most point of Alaska, with only a small opening for them to come up and breathe through. As the temperatures get colder, that opening get smaller as more of the water freezes. The story becomes a global sensation as a race against time ensues to save the whales’ lives.

Anyone alive during this time probably knows how the story ends (Here’s a hint: Bring tissues with you to the theater), but if you are a fan of these kinds of films, it might be an enjoyable, if somewhat bittersweet, experience for you and your family.

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Posted on 01 September 2011 by Rich Drees

Shawn Levy has signed on to direct Twentieth Century Fox’s planned retelling of the Frankenstein story.

Variety’s Showblitz is reporting that the director has just signed on to direct the project that the studio is developing. Max Landis is currently writing a treatment for the film.

Unclear, however, is Levy’s status in relation to Fox’s planned remake of Fantastic Voyage. Last month, we told you that Levy and the studio were not seeing eye-to-eye on matters of casting for the film and that if they couldn’t come to an agreement he would leave the project. The Frankenstein film was one potential replacement job that Levy had been considering.

Levy beat out several other high profile directors for this film including Paul Greengrass, who had also been briefly attached to Fantastic Voyage, and David Yates for the gig.

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