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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.’ 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.

Picture: Filmmaker Shawn Levy

Kaitlin Parker

Hollywood news banter 5 MIN

Matt Belloni, editorial director of The Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • ‘The Mummy’ opens this weekend and is supposed to kick of Universal’s Dark Universe franchise, but the reviews and box office tracking don’t look good...at least in the U.S. Will the overseas appeal of stars like Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe be enough to save the movie?
  • The Dark Overlord is a hacking collective that leaked episodes of an upcoming Steve Harvey game show called ‘The Funderdome.’ But they also claim to have real blockbusters, and it’s possible studios are paying ransoms to keep their material from being leaked.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Shawn Levy on changing course in his career and 'Stranger Things' 5 MIN

Last July, ‘Stranger Things’ on Netflix came seemingly out of nowhere to become the buzziest show of the summer.

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 3 ‘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 8 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.

Watch 'Stranger Things' on Netflix

‘Stranger Things’ Season 2 trailer

Shawn Levy, filmmaker, founder of 21 Laps Entertainment (@ShawnLevyDirect)


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