Netflix’s first blockbuster movie, the $90 million fantasy-actioner Bright, is a steaming pile of orc sh*t; a nonsensical garbage pile featuring elves, orcs, a checked-out Will Smith, Chicanx gangster stereotypes worse than those regrettable “Homies” figurines (a trademark of its director David Ayer), and a slow-motion shootout set to Bastille that’ll make you want to go full Sam Neill in the final third of Event Horizon—that is, rip your own eyes out and run around naked attacking people.
It is also, according to the testimonies of several industry people on Twitter, written by an alleged sexual predator.
Bright was written by Max Landis, a 32-year-old screenwriter who became a hot Hollywood commodity after penning 2012’s found-footage superhero film Chronicle. Since then, however, he’s been attached to a string of misfires, from his directorial debut Me Him Her to the forgettable flicks American Ultra, Mr. Right, and Victor Frankenstein. In the wake of Bright’s critical drubbing, people have mocked Landis’ considerable privilege, given both the amount of opportunities he’s been given since Chronicle, a film that was more effects and performance-driven, and the fact that he is the son of John Landis, the celebrated filmmaker behind classics like National Lampoon’s Animal House, Trading Places, Coming to America, and the “Thriller” music video.
Despite the poor reception, Netflix has reportedly green-lit a sequel to Bright, with Smith attached in the starring role. It is unclear if Landis will be writing the script.
In the early hours Friday morning, Netflix’s official Twitter account sent out a tweet promoting the premiere of Bright, set to debut that day. Anna Akana, an actress who appeared in a Landis-helmed YouTube video titled Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling, responded to the tweet, writing: “Written by a psychopath who sexually abused and assaults women, right? Cool.”
The tweet from Akana, who did not elaborate further, led others to take to Twitter and accuse Landis of sexual misconduct—including Zoe Quinn, a prominent video game developer and artist, who unleashed a Twitter thread directed at Landis that began with: “Sometimes men who commit sexual assault are talented screenwriters and their work comes with baggage. other times, they’re Max Landis.” Quinn further alleged that Landis’ abuse was an “open secret” in Hollywood, and that she’d been withholding the story for a while because “him & his dad are powerful figures.”
Talk alluding to Landis’ alleged history of sexual misconduct has been floating around industry circles for quite some time. And back in early November, MAD magazine editor Allie Goertz sent out a cryptic tweet that read, “I can’t imagine who is more scared in a post-Weinstein world than a famous director’s son.” The tweet was, according to several people familiar, about Landis, and the thread prompted a reply from Akana, writing, “Believe you. Support you.”