My short bio: Hi. I'm Max Landis, writer of the film Chronicle and the upcoming films Frankenstein and Me Him Her, one of which I directed. I've also got about a bajillion other scripts going at the same time (for those who are keeping track), as well as some stuff that will get announced in the coming months.

Since my last AMA, I've segued from just writing to also directing and producing, and also become what I describe as a "d-list comicon celebrity" with my trilogy of youtube Superman videos, DaRoS, Regarding Clark and the Death and Return of Superman pitch.

I'm a somewhat outspoken and seemingly polarizing figure (to the relatively few people who know who I am). I'm the son of director John Landis, which endears me to some people (wrongly) and invokes an aura of pretension and nepotism to others (also wrongly).

I have terrible insomnia right now, and am in NYC to edit Me Him Her, a town where I know absolutely no one. So I figured I'd do a second ask me anything. And I do mean ANYTHING.

Then when I wake up tomorrow I will go hard in the paint to answer your questions, should you have some, on writing, directing, the business, my youtube stuff, comics, movies, relationship advice, my dad, my genius mom, my cat, Chronicle 2, WHATEVER.

Oh, and here's me proof, matey:

Ask away.

Comments: 300 • Responses: 105  • Date: 

snobbysnob14 karma

Chronicle was a really pleasant surprise. For whatever reason i had really low expectations for the film going in, and ended up really enjoying it. The writing was great.

I have heard that you said the second one would be darker, which i would have absolutely loved, but now someone else is writing it if i understand correctly? Did the studio get cold feet due to the darkness in the sequel being too much for them?

Either way congrats, i look forward to more of your work.

Also, as a PS, reading your intro you said you have a million scripts going. Do you find that writing more than one at once allows you to distance yourself from a particular project and then when you return look at it more objectively with fresh eyes so to speak? Almost as though you are editing something for a really good friend?

Uptomyknees7 karma

Distance is very important, in everything in life. It's like one of the key components to rational thinking. I almost wish there was an obligatory 2 month window between delivery and notes; sometimes there is, and it sucks terribly and makes you feel aimless, but I still almost wish it sometimes.

And yes, it's great to come back and be surprised by your own work; your "really good friend" analogy is spot on.

Who really knows why they didn't like Martyr. I'm still not totally sure. Maybe it sucked?

glaivethruster11 karma

Considering you're a comic book fan, if you could do any film for Marvel or DC what would you do?

Uptomyknees23 karma

1970s gritty blaxploitation Heroes For Hire movie.

Thatwierdasian9 karma

That Nerdist episode where you pitched that Peter Pan trilogy. Do you think youll ever actually make that? Because holy shit thay pitch you gave of it was so epic. Side Question: Craziest Party Story.

Uptomyknees17 karma

God, I hope so. One day. Disney is doing some kind of weird Hook reboot thing, so I've been sitting on it, but I do really like that story.

Side answer: drunk at 3 AM in hot air balloon with naked girl.

Uptomyknees9 karma

Oh and I did that Patton Oswalt as the Joker thing too, people seemed to like that. I certainly liked it. Okay I'm going to sleep.

Delta48 karma


Uptomyknees6 karma

I was randomly contacted last year via facebook; this was my second year!

kcidol20028 karma

Why is it so F'ing difficult to get any entry level job in the entertainment industry? Also Chronicle was awesome. Michael B Jordan is the shizz.

Uptomyknees11 karma

Because it's a smaller industry than people think, and there's more competition than there should be. And thanks.

bakelywood7 karma

If you could do a reboot of any character, TV show or film what would it be? And what would you do with it?

Uptomyknees8 karma

You'll know sooner than you think.

LoCHiF7 karma

Fan splurge, no question.

All your spec scripts/comic arcs you've presented in interviews, videos and even PDFs have been really enjoyable. Bond, Pan, Patton, DaRoS, The Robins, Knightfall... everything I've seen found talking about existing stuff of ideas for stuff*. You're amazing at it.

I have dreams of you collaborating with Red Letter Media on... anything. Just guesting on Half in the Bag. Or posing for a photo together. Or a full length film. I know you're too busy to, but please do something with them.

EDIT And your Dubai talk about what screenwriting really is (being able to rewrite based on notes, basically).

Uptomyknees4 karma

Dude thank you so much this put a huge smile on my face.

theregos7 karma

Hey Max! We miss you in Dubai - much love from @theregos

On a serious note, what in the holy hell is "Me Him Her" about? Some of the photos you were tweeting during production gave me serious dafaq moments.

Uptomyknees6 karma

Me Him Her is a super weird, slightly surreal comedy about three people: a gay celebrity who wants to come out of the closet, his friend who is trying to help him and, because he is amazingly terrible at helping him, ends up distracted and as a touchstone in the very unhealthy break-up between two lesbians.

That's "the plot" but that's sort of like saying "the plot of Amelie is about a girl who meets a boy," if that makes sense.

theregos6 karma

Why didn't you enjoy the end of The Last of Us as much as the rest of the Internet? (trying to keep it as spoiler free as possible :p)

Uptomyknees16 karma

It went against what I feel videogames should be about, and what should differentiate them from cinema: freedom of choice.

cooljammer006 karma

You're in New York City for a few months editing that new film.

I live in New York City.

Can we hang out?

edit: Alternatively, we can go watch Night of Champions in a bar together or something. I hear the one where The Masked Man and Rosenberg and that other dude with the fro hang out is pretty good.

double edit: Also, plug for r/squaredcircle.

Uptomyknees8 karma

Yes, and sure, hit me up on facbeook, I might be around.

Night of Champions is either gonna be nuts or terrible.

chrissabal6 karma

Alright. Here we go. What is one comic book story you want to bring to the cinema?

Uptomyknees26 karma

Batman: The Long Halloween.

homokomplex6 karma

What's the easiest way to become a director? How do you come up with ideas for movies?

Uptomyknees6 karma

Buy a camera at Best Buy and start making stuff.

I don't know, but I'm pretty sure it involves the doozers from Fraggle Rock.

francowestcoast6 karma

Hey Max, as a fellow WWE fan, If you were given the main creative role in WWE, where would you go with writing for Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk etc?

Uptomyknees8 karma

Dude I gotta stop doin fan fic!

adamquigley5 karma

How did you manage to sell so many spec scripts within such a short period of time, and without having yet "proven yourself"? When Davis bought CHRONICLE, was it fast-tracked as a package deal with Trank directing? Can you elaborate a bit on what that whole process was like, and how the success of CHRONICLE has since changed things for you?

Uptomyknees12 karma

My initial success started with doing uncredited rewrites; the strength of those rewrites sold my script Goodtime Gang, and from there it was an insane avalanche of pitching and selling and it became you know, heat generating heat. I think I broke some records, which is nuts.

Chronicle was indeed fast tracked with Trank directing, which came as a result of me personally refusing to sell it unless Trank was attached. This almost led to us not selling it at all (generally first time directors aren't handed $14 million dollar studio features), but I think Josh's brilliance now speaks for itself, and I feel vindicated seeing my boys up there on the screen.

Chronicle didn't actually do anything but seemingly slow me down, briefly; heat generates heat, yes, but once the whole house is on fire there's nothing left to do but watch it burn; I think I've only sold like three things since it came out, which is disappointing for me.

Then again, they were a TV show and two movies, one of which I directed, so you could say my standards are, to put it bluntly, "fucked."

Things are headed in an interesting direction right now, though. There's other stuff in the works. The house is still burning, but now I want to set the whole street on fire.

LoCHiF5 karma

What are your greatest fears and grandest hopes for how Me Him Her will be released and received?

Also, what are the Illuminati's plans concerning yourself and George Clooney?

Uptomyknees7 karma

"Max Landis' self-indulgent, self-aggrandizing, melodramatic and overblown directorial debut is every bit as obnoxious, offensive, and ultimately vapid as the public personality of the man himself."

"Max Landis' wildly silly, intensely emotional, laugh out-loud funny and strangely moving directorial debut might seem like a semi-surreal mess, but you come out of it with a great message and a mile-wide smile on your face. This is my new favorite movie."

ohktan5 karma

All in all, who is the one comic book character that doesnt get enough love in your eyes?

Uptomyknees16 karma

Spider Jerusalem.

irregularcog5 karma

So if I understand your intro to the Death of Superman pitch, in a world where Countdown didn't suck, possibly the new 52 didn't happen and you didn't have a bunch of work, we could have gotten a sweet weekly series with you touching pretty much all key aspects of the DC universe? Damn. So close

Uptomyknees6 karma


Nooker4 karma


Uptomyknees6 karma

Everyone's version of Batman would be different, but I think Affleck is probably fine.

redartifice4 karma

Which do you think is more complex: The Death and Return of Superman or Infinite Crisis?

Uptomyknees5 karma

they're both very, very convoluted, but in terms of actual complexity (emotionally and plotwise) I'd have to say Infinite Crisis.

Lesmocon4 karma

First off, entirely agree with your comments on The Last of Us. The complete gushing over it as absolute video game storytelling perfection or whatever has made me very grumpy lately.

My question: What in your opinion is the worst comic book storyline you've ever read other than The Death and Return of Superman (if that even is your pick in the first place)?

Bonus question: Do you have any interest in working on or writing a script for a video game?

Uptomyknees6 karma

Dude, there are so many bad ones trying to pick a worst is like saying "what's the worst movie?" Too many.

And yes, of course, but that's a very tough nut to crack, and a very hard industry to break in to.

irregularcog4 karma

  1. As a Comic person and someone who watches porn what do you think of the trend high production, somewhat plot serious superhero porn parodies?

  2. Are you worried that your dad's beard will come to life and attach itself to you? Alternatively, have you tried growing a beard

Uptomyknees5 karma

  1. I don't know, I watch amateur stuff and compilations.

  2. Yes, very much so, every day. And I tried to grow one to protect myself, but I've got a huge bald patch in a real central area of my neck.

Siaphan3 karma

Max, Bret from Dubai here. What happened with the bite at the Cavalli Club after MEFCC? Was it a deranged fan, a random person biting people on the neck, some sort of initiation ritual?

Uptomyknees7 karma

It was a very cute girl who was very drunk and all over me, and I was like "Okay, fun," and then she legit just went full hungry hungry hippos on my neck.

I think she was trying to be sexy?

Batmankoff923 karma

One of the things I like to do most is to pitch deliberately terrible movies you'd actually quite like to see to my friends.

For Example:

Face/Off 2: 2face2furious. It's basically the plot of Face/off but Nic Cage plays both characters this time, he has to swap faces... with himself.

What's the absolute worst pitch you could come up?

Uptomyknees10 karma

Grown Ups already exists and has a sequel.

davidleefilms3 karma

Hi Max, big fan of your work. What is the one film in the last twenty years that you wish you had written?

Also, what is your best advice for a film-maker with an original script in terms of visibility? Through agents or submitted through contacts at studios?

Uptomyknees8 karma

Gotten, like, as an assignment? Shit, TOO many. Lone Ranger would've been fun. Man of Steel too.

Or written like, "I wish I wrote that?" God SO MANY also! Probably The Matrix.

MANAGERS FIRST! NO AGENTS, NO STUDIOS, NO FUCKING SLIMY PRODUCERS! Managers will actually have someone READ blind submissions; they'll be at the bottom of a big pile, but at least they won't be in the fucking warehouse from Raiders of The Lost Ark.

Riffster3 karma

Is there anyone in the industry who is your age or younger that what they are doing truly excites you?

Uptomyknees3 karma

Not who I can name off the top of my head.

somewhatdevious3 karma

Was there an inspiration for Chronicle? Or did that just come out of nowhere?

Uptomyknees3 karma

Josh Trank's "do a found footage superhero movie about teens and pranks" idea, Akira, Carrie.

cooljammer003 karma

Do you ever feel weird/bad when you live tweet events like auditions/casting sessions/production meetings/other Hollywood insider type things and just tear into (unnamed) people for their perceived lack of skill/talent? Most of that stuff would presumably typically only happen behind closed doors or in the annals of your mind, and yet any actor who bombs or thinks they bombed can check your Twitter and see your opinion of them or someone they might believe was them.

Or....I guess I wanna know about that time you had some sort of meeting with Ron Howard, I think, and you spent the entire time livetweeting photos of yourself wearing a dinosaur mask.

Uptomyknees4 karma

Not bad at all. I pride myself on being a mostly open book, and the public side of that, as long as I don't name names, has yet to really piss anyone off. I also have poor social skills, sometimes, so this might be a consequence of that.

It was a development meeting about my movie Amnesty; not to sound like a dick, but Ron and I are friends at this point, so we started goofing off with a Gorn mask about an hour in and just generally being weird and I thought #hollywoodgorn was the right way to go.

Daide3 karma

Hey Max, thanks for doing this. Your genius and ability to spin an engaging story absolutely blows me away. For example, I think I've sent a link to your Death and Return pitch to about 2 dozen friends/coworkers and every single one has watched it through in its entirety in a single sitting. Your excitement is contagious.

In one interview, you mentioned that you have tons of ideas that you'll never get a chance to actually work on. Have you ever considered doing a podcast to just talk about random half-formed ideas or just your general goings on? I'd pay to listen to you shoot the shit.

Uptomyknees6 karma

Sorry if that came out dickish; I didn't really acknowledged how touched I am by you saying that my excitement is contagious. I really hope so; I hope all excitement can be contagious. I love stories, and thank you for sharing my silly superman thing, and I'm so happy you like it.

Uptomyknees6 karma

No. They're my ideas, and I share them when I want to; having a forum to gab about them I feel like would make them less special to me? I dunno; I have a lot of ideas, but just tossing them out there in a vacuum would be like just tossing out little pieces of my heart.

ophiwan3 karma

Max, You have spoken openly about struggling with a mood disorder during your childhood. My son is 13 and also has a mood disorder. He is a very creative and intelligent (like you). Looking back at your struggles what advice can you give me on how to support him and help him be succesful in his endeavours? I was blown away by Chronicle, DaRoS, and Animal Battles. Thank you for shaking up the industry and making new stories not just rehashing bs.

Uptomyknees9 karma

Well, it depends what kind of mood disorder, but there are unifying things, I guess. I'm not used to giving advice on this, but I can try.

I've found that the key to handling my own mood disorder is constant self observation; I need to create a shelf, or a high opera seat, within myself to sit on and try to have perspective on the floods of emotion as they hit me. It's a trained thing, that came from years of practice and real, terrible adversity and pain.

But the moment you're able to recognize your mood-swings as false flags, the notion that they're essentially just static noise in your mind without any real backing, you can start the process of wrangling them down.

A school called The Learning Clinic was essential to my progress as a human person, much less a successful one with a public personality, friends and a generally happy attitude. It was there that through regimented structure I was forced to rationally examine my very irrational behavior, and in doing so, create a watchtower in my mind.

I still have urges to tantrum, to become manic, to become depressed, to this day. it's something that never goes away.

Medication helped too; have you considered lithium? For years, it did absolute wonders for me.

Also, let him know you're there for him. If he's a tantrumer or a yeller or a rager or a manic or a depressive, be the rock. Be above that. The best thing you can do is corral, without engaging. Mood disorders can become oddly contagious, and breed very unhealthy relationships if you don't keep yourself in check as much as you keep him in check.

Thank you so much for the shout out for Animal Battles, and best of luck with your son.

irregularcog3 karma

1.Even though you didn't have any hand in directing (or unless I'm mistaken, casting) Chronicle, do you take some nepotistic glee in the fact that Dane DeHaan/Andrew is Harry Osborne in ASM2? Or that Micheal B Jordan voiced Cyborg (and in less comic related news has made people feel depressed about taking the train)

  1. How do you like Directing as opposed to Writing? Obviously you've done a bit of both even before Me Him Her with the films you would do with your friends and over course you were exposed to directing with your dad

Uptomyknees3 karma

  1. Yes. Hugely. So proud of those guys.

  2. Directing is super fucking fun and when I was on set doing it I had the same sort of incredible dopamine reward I get from writing. It felt like a more physical version of the same thing; if writing is chess, then directing is football, and I fucking loved every second of it.

Even though I hate chess and football.

angryaardvark3 karma

Are you still vehemently anti-Denny's? I guess we wouldn't be caught dead in a run-down fast food chain diner in this day and age.

More serious question: how do you feel about YouTube and Netflix as distribution networks? Sub follow ups: Would you ever write a YouTube series with an independent studio? Ad revenue won't bring the big budgets that Hollywood studios do anytime soon, but are big budgets necessary? Is the movie industry worried about 10, 20 years down the road? Is there a difference between old, insider thinking and younger, outsider thinking?

Uptomyknees3 karma


beanboy643 karma

chronicle was an amazing film. good job

Uptomyknees6 karma

beanboy is an amazing name. equally good job.

mrozema3 karma

Hey dude,

CHRONICLE was my favorite film of last year and I felt so exhilarated and inspired to get back into film work after seeing it.

I'm curious--why didn't you or Trank end up recording an audio commentary for the DVD/Blu Ray? I'm a huge commentary nut, so--while I happily own the Blu-Ray, I always wish it was a feature.

Also also--how is Trank's FF looking?

Uptomyknees3 karma

I have no idea why we didn't do that, and I haven't had a real convo with Josh in about a year. Dude has been busy, I guess.

Samoridon2 karma

Can I just say DaRoS the movie was amazing and me and my friends watch it again and again every now and again, with jokes from it being in constant use in our everyday conversations I gotta give you mad props for that and I hope that you make more things like that in the future. Considering this is an ama, you gonna do more stuff like that? I loved knightfall too even though finding some proper quality video was impossible.

Uptomyknees1 karma

Have you seen Watchmen and The Robins?

Uptomyknees1 karma



Humongous fan and I can't wait to see anything you do, especially Me Him Her! As a 17 year old hoping to make it in the film industry and film school, you're such an inspiration! I was struggling with what to do for my creative application for college (short film) and after watching some of your interviews and just observing that (at least from my perspective) you only do things you care about and are passionate about (ie. chronicle taking some ideas about superheroes but making them your own). I realized what I was about to submit was not me and was just what I thought the school wanted.

So saying you helped me a lot would be an understatement, without finding you and your videos I wouldn't have trashed a script that wasn't me, and written what I feel is my best work and something I actually I feel like is worth telling and not just something to get into college.

Anyway enough fanning, I actually have a question. Haha. If you could go and erase any event from comics (other than the death of Superman) what would it be?

P.s. you favorited one of my replies to you on twitter and just about died from absolute shock. So thank you for that. :)

Uptomyknees5 karma

The New 52.

And thanks, man. Stay true to what thrills you.

mrozema2 karma

  1. In your opinion, what scripts do you think every aspiring screenwriter should seek out and read?
  2. What led to you getting your first job in the industry (re-writing scripts, etc.)?
  3. In your opinion, what is the best unproduced script you have as of now?

Uptomyknees6 karma

  1. I don't know; I hadn't read even one script when I started.
  2. A man named Adam Goldworm enjoying a script sample I gave him.
  3. Green Valley. I never brought it out to town. In terms of things I sold, it's a big tie; Pied Piper is fucking awesome fairytale madness, Amnesty is unlike anything that exists right now, Villains is a sexy, wild ride, Goodtime Gang is the funniest thing I've written, Mr. Right is probably my most romantic, except of course Hell Run, which is my fastest and most stylish, Vigilant shoulda been a TV show and has my favorite female characters I've ever written, and Chronicle That shit was dope.

I don't know, dude. It's hard. I'm a big fan of my stuff; that's how I stay excited and wanting to keep creating. I'm my own audience.

lurkti2 karma

Hey Max,

I've been a fan since Chronicle and your DaRoS clip. I love your work!

DC appears to have made some mis-steps in its new movie universe: Man of Steel doesn't appear to have been the success they hoped it to have been, and with Snyder directing a Batman/Superman tie-up again, I'm not sure the next movie will be much different.

If you were in charge of the DC movie universe initiative, what would you do to save it/improve it?

Uptomyknees5 karma

Move into the formula of "Making compelling Sci-Fi character studies" and away from the idea of $200 million dollar blockbusters.

SYNW2 karma

Hi Max. Firstly, Deer Woman rules. Secondly, since you said you'd answer questions about your dad...

1) To what extent are you influenced by your dad's work?

2) It was reported about two years ago that John was returning to the horror genre - any there any new developments on that? Innocent Blood feels like far too long ago now! (and has yet to be released on DVD in the UK... I will buy like 5 Chronicle DVDs and hand them out to friends if you can convince someone to make that happen).

Uptomyknees2 karma

1) Not really at all. The only things he's done that I can really relate to, creatively, are Clue, American Werewolf and Into The Night. I love his stuff, though

2) I don't know anything about that.

packy1042 karma

How do you became the director of a blockbuster?

Uptomyknees15 karma

I didn't became that yet.

zattk942 karma

Presented with the opportunity to write a super flick, that would get made regardless, for any character, any arc, anything you want. Who would you choose and why?

Uptomyknees6 karma

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.

Hellwemade2 karma

Wow I am late to the party but I love your work!

Especially your movie ideas for the re imagining of Peter Pan. Holy shit please tell me you could make this happen one day?

Uptomyknees4 karma

fingers crossed

funktopia2 karma

Hey, as a potential screenwriter, I have to ask about the sheer volume of ideas that get shot down compared to what actually turns into a real thing. It just seems totally different from being an author, where you seem to be more free to pursue ideas for a larger length of time? I'm probably too drunk to phrase this question properly on a saturday night, but I don't want to miss this opportunity.

Uptomyknees4 karma

Yeah I'm confused, but I think you're the man.

IanPrime2 karma

Hey Max do you think you will be writing any more comics at DC anytime soon?

Your story in the Action Comics Annual was great and i loved your Death and Return of Superman Pitch.

Uptomyknees3 karma

I dunno, man. I was working on something with Jock, but...

I dunno. DC is...DC.

TommyJMaes2 karma

Do you have a favorite cookie?

Uptomyknees6 karma


irregularcog2 karma

What do you think of David Cage's games (Heavy Rain, Indigo Prophesy) and how important would you say choice in a game is compared to the illusion or feeling of choice? For example in the Walking Dead game you can't change a whole lot but every decision feels heavy. Ok now I'm going to go to sleep

Uptomyknees2 karma

Haven't played them :(

AstroAlmost2 karma

Hey Max, Chronicle was rad, everyone I knew kept suggesting I check it out, knew nothing going in, and was blown away. My question is this: Do you typically trust your music supervisor to pick the right songs for your work, or do you have an idea of what would be playing when going into the filming? ...Annnnd how do I get my cd on your desk?

Uptomyknees3 karma

Well, the two songs in Chronicle are actually both ones I put in the script; "Price Tag" and "Ziggy Stardust."

As for Me Him Her, this is my first time working with a music supervisor, and it's crazy; I'm still learning.

PS: I don't have a desk.

Cmckendry2 karma

What is MOGO and what was he doing in that cave?

Uptomyknees3 karma

Massive Omnivorous Gutenberg Organism.

Gutenberg for the gutenberg discontinuity.

and he was very injured, and attempting to feed. things didn't work out.

whitesummerside2 karma

Howdy Max. Just wanted to say that your deconstruction of pro wrestling was of the best things I've ever heard and touched on so many things that I also love about it. Do you have plans on deconstructing it further, or at least what's going on now currently in wrestling?

Uptomyknees3 karma

All that stuff shows up on my twitter.

JamesLiptonAsks2 karma


Uptomyknees4 karma

Well, this is very general.

  • Golden idol of Mara from the Indiana Jones Ride in Disneyland
  • small creek off a trail in Griffith Park
  • Parmesan
  • that I was in love with my best friend
  • I wouldn't tell that one publicaly, but in involves someone on their period, vodka, and not-my-bed.

nhexum2 karma

Max - I love The Death and Return of Superman. Do you plan on doing anything else similar to that?

Uptomyknees3 karma

Not yet.

TaffyCrones2 karma

Max, your Dubai Comic-Con talk was great. You said that you weren't going to go too much into the writing process side of things because a lot of the people in that room weren't writers.

I'd love to hear some of your thoughts and techniques when it comes to the nuts and bolts.

Love your stuff!

Uptomyknees1 karma

That's more an "in person" or on video thing; I'd feel dumb trying to write it out.

I'm sorry, that's a shitty answer, but check this out:

TaffyCrones1 karma

Max, after reading your Chronicle script and falling in love with it I ate up the rest of your work and was equally enamoured.

Goodtime Gang was hilarious and I'm almost dreading seeing Frankenstein in case in doesn't live up to what it was on the page.

Your Chronicle 2 pitch sounds amazing, sadly, it doesn't look like its going ahead and I'm afraid ill never get the chance of experiencing it.

Is there any hope of you putting the script up online? (Or possibly sending it to my inbox?) :)

Uptomyknees1 karma

Arghhhhhhhhh no I can't. It kills me, but Martyr is property of Fox, and isn't mine to share.

But wouldn't it be crazy if I was allowed to, did it, and everyone hated it?

haha just kidding it's awesome

And thanks for the kind words on GTG and Frank

ryblew1 karma

Are there any particular books that you've read on screenwriting that have been particularly helpful? Or conversely, where do you feel you gained the most knowledge/skills/abilities on screenwriting as a craft?

Uptomyknees2 karma

I feel just by doing it again and again. I've written something like 100 shorts and 77 feature scripts, some of them tipping the scale at up to 450 pages long.

It's a muscle; you've got to work it.

IAmArique1 karma

So... Chronicle 2. When can I expect to give you my $10.50 for a ticket? Or has that not been planned out yet?

Uptomyknees1 karma

New writers, not me.

NedInSpace1 karma

Did you get any inspiration from Akira when writing Chronicle?

Uptomyknees4 karma

Andrew's final costume, and Matt's frantic screaming are both direct nods/tributes to Akira.

mrchocolateguy1 karma

Alright. Gremlins 2. You have expressed much love for this movie.

The thing that I loved most about the original film was the dark humor. I also loved how it wasn't afraid to GO THERE with some of the more emotional elements (like Kate's backstory.) And it was such a wonderfully strange mix of genres. Family? Horror? Thriller? Comedy? Dark comedy?

The second movie was on another sort of level. More twisted? Yes. More slick? Yes. It was certainly super different from the first film in that basically everything was turned up to 11... the wackiness, the slapstick, the behavior and traits of the gremlins AND the humans (like that one guy ending up with the chick Gremlin...) It even broke the fourth wall at one point with the best Hulk Hogan cameo possibly ever. Absolute madness. I love both movies for completely different reasons.

My question is this: Given the chance, would you ever agree to write a remake of Gremlins? I hear that they're trying to get the ball rolling on a remake right now.

Thank you for your work and all the inspiration that it has given me as an aspiring filmmaker.

Uptomyknees2 karma

Yes, I would. totally vibing with everything you're saying up there, too. And you're welcome, I do my best.

LoCHiF1 karma

Another late question, probably to go unanswered.

If Me Him Her is successful on the scale it's intended to be (my guess is - critically and cult), do you think you could approach DC or Marvel in doing a minor character comic book movie as writer & director?

I know you've said elsewhere in this AMA you'd like to have a go at writing Wonder Woman, Green Lantern & Batman. I'd like that. But I also know that even if you get them the project is so massive that what you write and what you want to do with them might get lost in the process that is film making.

So maybe look to write & direct a smaller one. Like one of the "Marvel Knights" level characters. The Punisherª, Blue Beetle, the Alias/Jessica Jones MAX line, Baracuda, Booster Gold (heh) - that sort of thing. A project they probably wouldn't be too eager to get off the ground in general but might see an opportunity to make something special with a young, creative, new writer/director.

It'd be low budget, of course. Maybe $20-$40 mil. But man, imagine what you could do with it with a moderate level of creative control.


ª (But not The Punisher. We've had enough The Punisher. But if you do do The Punisher please have him be militaristic, not spinning in the middle of a room dangling from a damn chandelier.)

PS: On the off chance you haven't read the Alias/Jessica Jones MAX run, you should. I think you have based on something you said in an interview once about Purple Man, but just in case. I'm not sure you'll like it, you might find it a little heavy handed, but it's worth a read nonetheless.

Uptomyknees2 karma

$20-$40 million is NOT low budget, man. Not by today's standards; that's on the upper end of low. Then there's like a $70 million dollar gap to the blockbusters.

And yeah duh, there are a kazillion characters I'd kill to do that for!

crystallinestranger1 karma

What are some of your favorite books?

Uptomyknees2 karma

Yiddish Policemen's Union, Dirk Gently's Hollistic Detective Agency, Tommyknockers...Too many.

maddking1 karma

How often do you get into fist fights at the La Brea tarpit while wearing psycho clown outfits?

Uptomyknees3 karma

Exactly once so far.

foiled_yet_again1 karma

Why did you decide to make Chronicle so dark? It's the only film that depresses me throughout the entire two hours, it's just so heavy, but in a good way.

Uptomyknees4 karma

Chronicle is the only movie you've seen that's that dark? What? Man you gotta see more movies!

TheRipper131 karma


Uptomyknees1 karma

Prince Akeem's lionskin from the poster of Coming To America, because lion dopeness obvi

TheRipper131 karma


Alexxandros1 karma

This is probably as standard a question as you're gonna get but as an aspiring writer/director what advice would you give about trying to get a film made? Other "Don't try" of course which is the first and most sensible piece of advice...

On a more interesting note do you see filmmaking as a whole moving in a more positive direction or are you pessimistic about it's future

and finally you seem to be able to constantly do what you want rather than do just what producers want. Do you find it difficult to maintain artistic integrity in the industry?

Uptomyknees3 karma

It's sort of too loose of a question to answer properly, because how "films get made" is such a varied process. But "don't try" is 98% of the time not the answer.

Very nervous. I worry it could totally disappear within the next ten years.

And I have no idea how you got that impression, man; I'm just as under the thumb of producers and execs as anyone else. The trick is being able to turn perceived minuses into perceived plusses; fuck artistic integrity, what's important, I tell myself, is work ethic.

I am not an artist. I am an engineer.

bmkecck1 karma

I met your dad with Mark Metcalf a few years ago in Milwaukee-had a great time with them.

I thought your interpretation of and thoughts on the Man of Steel movie was spot on.

Question: Which is the better Prince: Before Purple Rain, Pre-Jehovah's Witness Conversion, or Post-Conversion?

Uptomyknees2 karma


Bootinator1 karma

Every so often my friend and I make a point of going to the cinema to see a film we've never heard or seen anything of. One of the films we saw was Chronicle. Neither of us had even heard of it (not sure what the marketing people were playing at). We were completely blown away by it. We were constantly surprised by it and the twists it took.

Thanks for a hell of a time :)

Uptomyknees1 karma


FilmFiendDev1 karma

Hope editing is going well! It was awesome to follow the production on your twitter btdub. Excited to see what you come out with next man. Since I'm a film score nerd, I must ask:

Who is your favorite film composer? Do you write to music?

You planning on producing outside projects soon?

Stoked for Frankenstein!

Uptomyknees2 karma

I feel like film composers go through seasons; I have favorite pieces over favorite individual composers, and no, I can't write to music, but I do THINK to music. What I mean by that is a huge part of my process involves just walking around listening to music and thinking about scenes and dialogue.

And yes, I'm producing three!!!!!!!!

rawhsome1 karma

Hello, which film do you hold most deeply to heart?

tterminaor1 karma

How true is the stereotype that people lower on the rung sleep with people on a higher rung to get parts in movies etc?

Uptomyknees2 karma

Medium true. I've never gotten laid this way, but I know some people who have; generally people who will have sex for power aren't very good at what they do, and aren't the most stable people.

Defective141 karma

Hi Max. Being a screen writer and a (burgeoning) force to be reckoned with in the film industry, my question gears more towards the video game industry.

As a Game Developer (I graduate college in 2 months and am putting out a buck ton of applications) and a fan of your thought processes, I was wondering if you had any ideas for a video game script? Meaning characters, scenes, dialogue, character development,etc,etc. Think...The Last of Us (ending notwithstanding) or the Mass Effect trilogy.

What would you do in the video game world if you were tagged to write a script for a trilogy of games?

Uptomyknees3 karma

Well, of course. I've had a zillion ideas for videogames, but the truth is, it seems that business is even harder to break in to (and even more clique-y and exclusive) than screenwriting.

A fun specific one:

I always thought it would be neat to have a massive, Just Cause/Assassin's Creed style game set in an Africa/South America/American Southwest/Caribbean hybrid world, where you play as an archetypal 1930s explorer, collecting treasures and running away from savage natives, monsters, spirits, ancient gods, jungle pirates and other, more mercenary explorers.

Sort of like "Adventure Land" in Disneyland...but as a whole game.

michaelhazin1 karma

Hey Max I really enjoy your opinions on Movies especially odd ones. I was wondering what are your thoughts on "Hudson Hawk"?

Uptomyknees1 karma

It's terrible BECAUSE it's so close to so many good things and can't pull any of them off.

tfresca1 karma

Do you and Ivan Reitman's son ever get together and plan world domination?

Uptomyknees2 karma

Never met Jason, but I am dating Nick Meyer's daughter so that's cool. And yes, we will takeover.

obsessedchannel1 karma

Long time listener first time caller.

How do you stay so damn focused and crank out so much work??

Uptomyknees1 karma

I love it.

Somanyregrets691 karma

Big fan of Chronicle. My question is this - I just finished production on my first feature (with some cool actors like Kate McKinnon, Jake Lacy, BriTanick and Jay Pharoah ). I wrote and produced it (didn't direct) but the whole production process exhausted me so so much that now a few weeks out of production I feel no motivation or desire to start a new script. I almost feel like i put so much emotional investment into this thing and now its all shot and the actors are gone and I'm trying to figure out what's next. When you wrapped Chronicle did you have any post-partum type depression thing and how did you break through that and get back to writing your next thing? Thanks dude. You're an inspiration for a young writer like me.

Uptomyknees3 karma

BRIAN AND NICK! Rad, ove those guys.

Well, I guess...I mean, I can't relate, really. Writing and directing my first feature (which also finished a few weeks ago) was the most exhilirating, inspiring, cathartic experience maybe of my entire life; I was working on several for-fun scripts during it, and also finalizing a few other deals from before production had started, and it all just felt great.

Keep in mind, I didn't direct Chronicle, that was the inimitable Josh Trank. But no, I'm always doing a couple things at once, so the post partum never really sets in.


beanboy641 karma

what sort of things are you writing and producing at the minute?

Uptomyknees1 karma

cool things

hauget1 karma


Uptomyknees2 karma

Well, that certainly sounds scary and intense. I'm sorry that had to happen, and I hope you're doing better now.

1) I'm sorry man, but I have to read scripts all the time for work; my spare script reading time is generally devoted to the writings of close friends.

2) Depends what you mean by post, and depends what you mean by write. I first found a critical ear by way of, so I can't sit here and say "hey don't post stuff." But if you want to try to get stuff made, the first step is trying to show it to people who can do that.

coffeepunk1 karma

I know it's not a question but I wanted to say my friend and I were super bummed about the news re: martyr. It was great to hear more about what may have been but still sucks I won't get to see it play out. It's been the most exciting and interesting hero/powers movie I've seen in a looooong time. I'm glad it at least exposed me to your work though, can't wait to see the new movie. Do you like toto's "Africa"?

Uptomyknees5 karma


Drosslemeyer1 karma

How do you feel about audience reaction/critical reception of your work?

Are you totally internally motivated or would it upset you if there was a negative audience or critical reaction to Me Him Her, for example, even if you thought you did the very best you could?

Uptomyknees2 karma

I won't know til it happens. I'm all about storytelling, so I think a negative reaction would probably hurt. I'm a sensitive dude with an alternately impregnable and fragile ego. We'll see.

genERIK_1 karma

Before I get the questions I first wanted to do a little gushing. As an aspiring screenwriter, and fan of your shit, I can't help but sit back and say "Max Fuckin' Landis did it again" every time you put something out. Chronicle, as many people have already said, was amazing and was no doubt my favorite movie of 2012. DaRoS, the Death and Return pitch, Regarding Clark, the Patton/Joker thing, the Shocker Legit, and basically all the other shit that you've put out are all amazing. My hats off to you, sir. The nepotism thing shouldn't even be posed because all your work speaks for itself. The talent is there and anyone who thinks otherwise is a prick.

End gushing.

As far as the questions go, how do you find time to finish as much as you do? Or to make it more specific in my case, between work, school, girlfriend, and life in general how do I make sure I get writing done? I love writing and whenever I get to it just instantly puts me in a better mood (unless I'm feeling exceptionally self-deprecating that day then I just shit on myself). I just feel like on top of all the other shit in the way of writing I get in the way also, if not more than anything else. My fear of failure that it's all for not and doubt in my own ability hinder, in an almost paralyzing way, my ability to push on. Plus I live on the east coast(though I want to move to California pretty fuckin badly) and I feel like that's also against me. So I guess my questions are how do you make sure to leave enough time for writing and how do you keep the fear in check and not let it stop you and how would someone from the east coast get their "foot in the door"? I feel like I should add that writing isn't a burden, to me, I just want to make sure I devote enough time to it so that I can feel confident in the work I'm putting out.

Also, I'm going to be in New York two(or three) weeks from now, any chance we could hang out?

Congrats with all of the well deserved work, looking forward to seeing all the new stuff!

Uptomyknees3 karma

Yes, there's a chance we could hang out, but only a chance; I'm super busy. I'd also hate to shatter your extremely positive image of me, which made me super fucking happy to hear about. Hit me up on fb or whatev.

"How do I find time" is a completely unfair question, primarily because it's my only job. Other than partying, friends, relationships and weird goofing off, writing and producing is my singular (doubl-ular?) vocation. Back when I was in school, it was harder, but now that it's all I do I can basically write whenever I want.

This is why I always say it's bullshit when a career writer takes more than three months to complete a first draft; what the fuck were they spending their time doing?, I always wonder.

Allowing fear of failure to hinder anything you do is just a way to slow yourself down while achieving failure faster. You don't see a shark afraid to go after a whale; it never even occurs to them that they couldn't take it down. And that mentality has left them as the ocean's perfect predator for millions of years.

You have to go after what you want in a smart, brave, humanistic and compelling way. If you're afraid to live your own story you're going to have a hard time selling one you made up.

As a writer starting out, I'd say a great first step is trying to be someone's assistant, making something on your own, or submitting to management companies.

I hope some of this could be of help to you.

gtripp1 karma

Not enough people are commenting or questioning on this.

Just wanted to let you know I'm terrified of the unknown of my future when it comes to moving to Los Angeles in the next six months. I find true inspiration in a lot of the honest (and yet absurd) things you say. So thank you.

  1. What's one thing you've already accomplished you never thought you would?

  2. Whats one thing you want to accomplish you havent yet?

Uptomyknees3 karma

  1. A movie was made of a script I'd written. Seriously. From where I came from, I legitimately never believed I'd have any success at all, much less get a movie made. Chronicle was a surreal and beautiful experience and i'm thankful for it every day.

  2. I want a movie I've written and directed to come out. The fact that that's happening in a matter of months is inception-noising my brain literally every minute.

Mikulak251 karma

Who is your dream director/writer team for a superhero film of any ilk? Superman or Batman if you need specifics. Also, your narration in DaRoS really brought the entire thing to life.

Uptomyknees1 karma

Me, Superman, or Me, Batman.

cae91 karma

Hey Max, big fan. I was wondering what is happening with Vigilance, it's been a while, is it still going forward?

Uptomyknees1 karma

Nope, Fox said no.

CivilBot1 karma

What obscure music genre do you think need a revival or a new twist? (P.S You are kinda my hero)

Uptomyknees2 karma

You are kinda awesome for saying that. And I have no idea.

Heroijuana1 karma

Whats your favorite John Landis movie. And how man of your film heroes have you been lucky enough to meet.

Uptomyknees2 karma

Into The Night.

And I would say about twenty of them, honestly.

wbarb19951 karma

Hey Max, how did you really get a grip of and master the screenplay format, I know you say screenwriting is an art so there is no real advice one can give, but in regards to the simple format are their any do's or don'ts?

Uptomyknees1 karma

do: keep your pages looking sparse, clean and uncluttered don't: have an entire page without at least two lines of dialogue.

Demosthenes1171 karma

How do you feel about New 52 Superman, also any thoughts on Superman vs. Batman?

Uptomyknees2 karma

I don't read it, and I'm, as of yet, indifferent.

hyperpearlgirl0 karma

What is the movie you would love to make that could never (for budgetary/audience/the physics of human perception reasons) be made?

Uptomyknees2 karma

I just made it. Me Him Her. :)

mpoissant0 karma

What did you want to be when you were a kid? If you weren't involved with the film industry then what would you see yourself doing at this point in your life?

Uptomyknees1 karma

A writer director. And honestly? In jail.

alandel20010 karma

Get to hang out on any cool movie sets as a kid?

Uptomyknees1 karma

Yeah, but I was so misbehaved they'd always make me leave.

Goobz240 karma

He didn't answer a single question...

schristo905 karma

Read the post.

Goobz242 karma

oh, my bad. He'll start answering them tomorrow. Thanks.

Uptomyknees2 karma


OrSomething0 karma

After Kickass, Matthew Vaughn was brought in to direct what became probably the best X-Men film. Would you be interested in directing a superhero film? Which superhero would you most want to direct?

Uptomyknees1 karma

Yes. You'll see.

jax72460 karma

how are you? was the untitled disney project you were working on the new frankenstein? is it the same frankenstein that del Toro wants to do? what is your favorite part of the new52, if any? opinions on syria?

Uptomyknees1 karma

Great! nope! Nope! none of it!


Honestly I don't really understand the Syria situation as well as I'd like to. reading up on it all morning. I think it comes down to "will what we're doing actually help" versus "will what we're doing just kill people and cost money," and I can't tell, as an uninformed observer, what the best course of action is.

alandel20010 karma

I really liked your episode of Nerdist. Just listened to it the other day. My question is this; how do you stay interested in wrestling? I see that you're a big fan. I was into it as a kid and then came back for the start of the "attitude" period, but now the storylines leave me cold and I rarely watch anymore. What continues to interest you?

Uptomyknees1 karma

The expanded mythos story telling, the compelling delivery of entertainment every week, the shockingly beautiful and impossibly coordinated art of the matches themselves...

It's pretty rad stuff.

uberlad0 karma

Thanks for doing this!

Question: Given your unique life experiences, what would you say is your very best life advice? Could be about anything.

Uptomyknees1 karma

Watch yourself first. You're in the best position to fuck yourself over.

botanyisfun0 karma

Hey Max! Love your twitter feed and work!

Was your father a major influence on your work? Also, are there any other filmmakers who inspire you?

Uptomyknees2 karma

Thank you!

He was a huge influence on my life, so of course that carries over to my work, but I wouldn't say our output is similar. And yes. Early Tim Burton, Jodorowski, Spielberg, Scorsese, Edgar Wright...The list goes on.

designerdad0 karma

I loved Chronicle. I thought it was the closest we will ever get to a live action Akira movie. Are you a Anime fan?

Uptomyknees1 karma

Casually, yes. Gantz is pretty fucking wonderful.

mr_e_s0 karma

Max, I loved your pitch on the DaRoS retelling, it got me genuinely interested in a character that had long fallen of my radar. I was wondering if there were any non-Supes stories out there in the DC or Marvel universes you really wanted to tackle, either as a fresh look or something altogether new. If so, why that particular cape and what is it about that story that you feel needs telling?

Uptomyknees1 karma

Wonderwoman (her backstory, her motivations), Green Lantern (the hum-drum nature of his origin and the idea that anyone can be one), Batman (want to do something new with him)...the list goes on and on.

fantastictransistor0 karma

What's your favorite film of all time? Pinnacle of movie making?

Also, what do you think of 3D films?

Also, really long warm showers before bed have helped with my insomnia. As well as John Mayer's Continuum.

Uptomyknees2 karma

Gremlins 2.

They can be rad or suck; I think the level of gimmickry they're at right now is healthy for the business, but annoying for film makers.

Hire you? C'mon, man, don't be like dat bro.

shibby1820 karma

Hey Max! Loved Chronicle and your youtube work. Any advice for people who've just written a screenplay. What the next step is/any professional advice on net getting ripped off or whatever.

Keep up the good work

Uptomyknees4 karma

Yes; keep writing. Write three more. Write six more. Just keep writing. Then move to LA, make friends, and figure it out from there. There is no one road to success. This isn't the military; this is a dice game, with a million chances and a billion roadblocks. Believe in yourself. You are a Power Ranger.

miscmantheman-1 karma

Why the fuck do you drink a finger of whisky with half a gallon of water in that video? It's a bizarre way to drink it... the closest thing I've seen to it is the way some japs drink it

Uptomyknees2 karma

I am already drunk, and it's cut down from 45 minutes. At the time you see me pour I'm three glasses in, and in "no fucks given" mode.

KushTheKitten-2 karma

Do you think a documentary about medicinal and spiritual benefits of Shrooms could have potential commercial appeal?

Uptomyknees1 karma

Yes. Gotta love mushrooms.