Max Landis Talks ME HIM HER, AMERICAN ULTRA, Future Projects, Hollywood, and More

     June 14, 2015

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Last week Max Landis’ directorial debut Me Him Her premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival. Shortly before heading to Seattle, I sat down with the very busy screenwriter for an extended video interview. During the wide-ranging conversation, Landis and I talked about so many things it would be impossible to summarize it in an intro. Suffice it to say, if you’re curious about what it really takes to make a movie, this interview is definitely worth your time as he reveals a lot of the real inner workings of Hollywood.

If you’re not familiar with Max Landis, he’s written a number of projects over the past few years (like Chronicle) and he’s got a lot getting released soon like American Ultra, Victor Frankenstein, and Mr. Right. And this doesn’t count all the projects he’s working on that are still under wraps.max-landis-me-him-her

However, while I think the interview has a lot of highlights, I especially like his reaction when I ask him what it was like directing an Ariana Grande music video that has around 100 million views. It’s around the eighteen-minute mark.

Finally, while everyone these days is media-trained and always tries to say the safe thing, I do appreciate that Landis is willing to speak his mind and not hide behind a canned response.


One last thing…if you’re not familiar with Me Him Her, the dramedy is about three millennials trying to figure out love, friendship, sex, identity, and life in present-day Hollywood. The film stars Dustin Milligan, Luke BraceyEmily MeadeAlia ShawkatRebecca Drysdale, and Haley Joel Osment. You can watch a clip here.

Here’s the interview followed by what we talked about. If you’d like to see Landis play “Save or Kill” you can watch that here.

 

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Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films

Max Landis:


  • Talks about the genesis of the project. How some of the scenes in the film really happened to him.
  • How he learned a lot about writing after directing his first feature.
  • Talks about the tone.
  • 3:55 – Talks about putting together the cast and how there aren’t many movie stars in their late 20s that can get a movie made.
  • 5:20 – What actors bring international money.
  • 6:30 – What films are being made in the studio system.
  • 7:00 – How social media and the 24/7 news cycle has changed the way we view movie stars and people.
  • 8:55 – Talks about the first cut of Me Him Her and how it’s a lot different than what he is releasing. The first cut had a mountain lion, the devil, and numerous other scenes that were cut out.
  • 9:40 – How his opinion that screenwriters deserve more credit for movies has changed and explains why.
  • 11:40 – What advice would he give himself if he could go back to the first day of filming?
  • 13:30 – How much did he pick the cast versus his casting director?
  • 16:10 – How did he end up directing the Ariana Grande video? Talks about shooting it over a day.
  • emily-meade-me-him-her-movie-image

    Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films

    17:40 – What is it like directing a music video with 100 million views?

  • 19:50 – What has the last 6 months been like for him?
  • 22:00 – Why Forrest J. Ackerman means so much to him.
  • 24:50 – Social media talk and how you shouldn’t read replies.
  • 25:50 – American Ultra talk. Talks about his reactions to the different cuts of the film he’s seen.
  • 26:50 – Talks about what American Ultra is about.
  • 28:40 – Kristen Stewart talk and casting American Ultra.
  • 30:00 – The way you feel when your movie is about to come out.
  • 30:55 – What is the synopsis for Me Him Her?
  • 33:30 – Talks about Victor Frankenstein and Right.
  • 35:55 – Talks about how much Right has changed since he first wrote it.
  • 36:30 – What finally got Right to sell?
  • 37:50 – What is he allowed to talk about regarding the projects he has pitched/written. Reveals he’s worked on a number of big projects he can’t talk about.
  • 38:40 – Tells perspective screenwriters what it’ll take to make it.
  • 41:10 – How the talking drama is dead in the Hollywood studio system.
  • 42:40 – What is he writing right now? Reveals he’s sold a TV show but can’t say more yet.
  • 43:50 – Talks about the scripts he’s working on now and what they’re about.
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Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films


scott-bakula-me-him-her-movie-image

Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films

dustin-milligan-me-him-her-movie-image

Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films


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