In July of 2016, Stranger Things on Netflix came seemingly out of nowhere to become the buzziest show of the summer. The show struck a chord with members of the TV academy as well. It’s now up for 18 Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series.
The executive producer of Stranger Things is Shawn Levy -- who before last year was best known as a director of family-friendly comedies, notably the Night at the Museum franchise. The broad comedies had broad appeal: the three Night at the Museum movies, all directed by Levy, made more than a billion dollars worldwide.
But eventually Levy wanted to break out of his box. He began to expand the mission of his production company -- 21 Laps. Last year his efforts paid off in a big way. In addition to Stranger Things, he produced Arrival, nominated for eight Oscars including best picture and best director.
Levy has come a long way from where he began his career -- not behind the camera but in front of it. He tells us how acting in a cheesy horror movie helped him become a better director, how he convinced Hollywood to reconsider him, and what might be next.