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

     June 14, 2015


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.



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.

Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films


Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films


Me Him Her image via Big Beach Films

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