【Max Landis Should Have Been Thrown Out Of Hollywood Years Ago — Analysis】
In April 2016, MGM won an auction for a Max Landis-penned underwater horror script, “Deeper,” with Bradley Cooper and “White God” director Kornel Mundruczo attached. When the timing didn’t work for the talent, MGM pressed forward on the project, hiring Baltasar Kormakur (“Everest”) last fall; in February, Idris Elba was reportedly in talks to star. Today, Landis is the subject of a searing expose by Amy Zimmerman in The Daily Beast — and, according to sources who requested anonymity, “Deeper” has fallen apart. (After publication, an MGM representative responded to a request for comment, confirming that the studio is no longer involved with the project.)
Of course, movies come together or don’t all the time, for reasons large and small. However, this may be the first indication that Landis’ counterintuitive, decade-long career path — one that included making critically reviled films while enjoying a long-term reputation as an unabashed emotional and sexual abuser of women — is no longer one that will scale.
Still, even as Landis made bad films, and was accused of bad behavior that ranged somewhere between repugnant and illegal, Hollywood came calling. That Landis has a famous-director dad certainly must have contributed to his ability to land jobs; nepotism still holds a lot of currency in an industry that may love familiarity more than innovation.
Landis’ IMDbpro page lists 11 projects in various states of creation, including a Pepe Le Pew feature, a Harry Houdini biopic, and “Deeper.” A “Bright” sequel is in development, without Landis.
Earlier this year, Endeavor Content introduced a new Chloe Grace Moretz title at the Berlin Film Festival, a World War II horror feature “Shadow in the Cloud” written by Landis and to be directed by Roseanne Liang. In April, Moretz revealed that Landis was no longer an active part of the film. “We’ve completely distanced ourselves from him,” Moretz said. “We’ve rewritten it several times now. His name is kind of far away from the project.”
According to Zimmerman, a representative for the film’s producers said “they were not aware of any allegations prior to optioning the script,” and that “after the allegations surfaced and some time went by, the producers renegotiated with Landis to have him removed as a producer, and to allow for extensive re-writes by Roseanne Liang at the time she was hired.” The project no longer appears on Landis’ (for now, still-packed) IMDb page.
When it comes to separating the art from the artist, at least Landis made that part easy: Both are bad, and never bothered to get better.