Shawn Levy made film studios very happy directing big family-friendly comedies--including all three Night at the Museum movies. But to make Shawn Levy happy, he realized he was going to have to try something new. Now he's coming off a banner year as a producer, including a best picture nomination for Arrival and last summer's breakout Netflix hit, Stranger Things, which is up for 18 Emmys. Levy tells us how he set about reinventing himself, and how his early experience as an actor in a zombie horror movie helped him as a director.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Matt Belloni, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.
- Actor Ed Skrein dropped out of Hellboy in response to fan outcry about whitewashing. It's a significant move, and the first time an actor has ever willingly dropped out of a project for this reason, saying the role should go to someone whose ethnicity matches that from the source material, which in this case is Asian.
- With the kickoff of the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals, Oscar season has officially begun. It's welcome relief for film lovers who are sick of comic book movies.
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.
More From The Business
Jon M. Chu and Kevin Kwan on the crazy gamble of 'Crazy Rich Asians' Author Kevin Kwan and director Jon M. Chu passionately wanted the movie version of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ to play in theaters. So they turned down a huge offer from Netflix and took their chances with Warner Brothers. Chu and Kwan talk about what they did for love when they made the first major studio movie to feature an all Asian cast in years.
Director Desiree Akhavan on ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post’ After her first feature premiered at Sundance to strong reviews, director Desiree Akhavan thought finding money to make a second film would be a snap. But after striking out in LA, Akhavan’s quest to make another project ultimately landed her in London. She tells us why she thinks the Brits are more open to her ideas, and talks about her newest film, ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post.’
Banter update: CBS CEO Leslie Moonves accused of sexual misconduct in New Yorker exposé Late on Friday afternoon, a New Yorker investigation by Ronan Farrow dropped, revealing accusations of misconduct against Leslie Moonves by six women. The CBS board met on Monday and announced that Moonves would remain at work while the board works to hire outside counsel to conduct an investigation.
Director Matt Tyrnauer on ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood’ A new documentary explores the incredible life of 95-year-old Scotty Bowers--a prolific pansexual pimp to the stars. Bowers says he set up liaisons for celebrities from Cary Grant to Rock Hudson to J. Edgar Hoover--all from his base in a gas station on Hollywood Boulevard. Director Matt Tyrnauer tells us about his film, ‘Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.’
LATEST BLOG POSTS
Healing sexual assault through cabaret On a recent Saturday night in Hollywood, a bar was packed with 20 and 30-somethings drinking, talking have having a good time. They were here to see a variety show,… Read More
Without China, who will take our recycling? China’s new recycling policies have upended recycling programs all around the country and here in LA. During the first quarter of 2017, California exported 54,000 tons of mixed plastics. In… Read More