Who Is Max Landis? 8 Women Accuse Screenwriter and Son of John Landis of Abuse, Rape

Eight women have come forward to accuse Bright screenwriter Max Landis of emotional and sexual abuse, assault, and rape. The women — many speaking anonymously — shared their stories with The Daily Beast in a story published June 18.

The women’s claims are disturbing. One filed a police report saying that Landis sexually assaulted her in 2008 while she was incapacitated after a night of drinking with him and other friends. A friend who said she interrupted the assault said Landis’s lawyer pressured the victim not to pursue the case. Another woman recounted how Landis attacked her in a hotel room during a visit to Disneyland. Several spoke of cruel and belittling comments they endured while dating Landis. Landis did not respond to the Daily Beast’s request for comment.

The allegations against Landis have been circulating for some time. In 2017, actress Anna Akana responded to the news that Netflix was releasing his film Bright with a tweet reading, “Written by a psychopath who sexually abused and assaults women, right? Cool.” After the Daily Beast article was published, a number of people took to Twitter to share additional anecdotes about their negative experiences with Landis.

Landis wrote the screenplay for Chronicle and Bright

Max Landis
Max Landis | C Flanigan/FilmMagic

Landis is a screenwriter who penned the scripts for movies such as Bright, Victor Frankenstein, American Ultra, Mr. Right, and Chronicle. He also created and wrote for the BBC America series Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and directed the 2015 film Me Him Her.

The 33-year-old also directed Ariana Grande’s 2015 music video for “One Last Time.” Landis was later accused of plagiarism when some noticed it bore a suspicious resemblance to a video for the Australian band SAFIA.   

He’s the son of controversial director John Landis

Landis is a member of a well-known Hollywood family. According to the Daily Beast his connections and wealth were one tool he used to control and manipulate people.

His father is director John Landis, who directed a string of hit movies from the 1970s through the 1990s, including The Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London, Coming to America, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Trading Spaces and Beverly Hills Cop III. He also directed Michael Jackson’s iconic “Thriller” video.

The elder Landis is no stranger to controversy himself. In 1982, he was directing a segment of the feature-length adaptation of The Twilight Zone when a helicopter crash during a Vietnam war battle scene killed three actors. The victims included two children, Renee Chan, 6, and Myca Dinh Lee, 7. Veteran actor Victor Morrow, the father of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, was also killed. Landis and three others were charged with involuntary manslaughter but found not guilty. The families of all three victims settled civil lawsuits for undisclosed amounts.

How will the allegations affect Landis’s career?

Like other Hollywood men accused of sexual misconduct, the allegations against Landis could impact his career. Even before the Daily Best story was published, he’d been axed from one upcoming project. The team behind the upcoming Chloe Grace Moretz film Shadow in the Cloud said they cut ties original screenwriter Landis following allegations of abuse.

[W]e’ve completely distanced ourselves from him. We’ve rewritten it several times now. His name is kind of far away from the project,” Moretz told the Guardian in April.

Idris Elba was attached to star in Deeper, a supernatural thriller written by Landis, but that movie has fallen off MGM’s schedule, according to Variety.

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