10 Screenwriters to Watch
“I was the flavor of the month, and then I was quickly dismissed,” says Landon, who in his mid-20s experienced the cruel vicissitudes of Hollywood. “I reached a point in my career when I couldn’t get a meeting anywhere,” he recalls.
After writing Larry Clark’s “Another Day in Paradise” while only 19 years old, followed by MGM’s “Blood and Chocolate,” Landon left Los Angeles for Austin, Texas, unsure of what to do with his life.
The youngest son of TV star Michael Landon, he bounced back soon enough, however. Passed on by all the studios, Landon’s spec script “Disturbia” was snapped up by Montecito Pictures, brought to DreamWorks, and then went on spend three weeks at No. 1 at the box office in April, racking up nearly $80 million domestically.
“He has a wonderful, contemporary energy,” says Montecito’s Ivan Reitman. “He’s very collaborative, he’s fast, and he had absolutely no problem finding a way to make things work and maintain his originality.” After hiring Landon to write a TV pilot about an invisible teenager (never picked up), Reitman says, “We’re trying to work with him again.”
But Landon’s schedule is filling up fast. He’s working on another DreamWorks project, “The Lesson,” based on the 1971 British high-school horror-thriller “Unman, Wittering and Zigo”; a contempo retelling of “The Crucible” called “The Flock” for Warner Independent; and a consulting producer stint on ABC’s new skein “Dirty Sexy Money.”
He’s also “dying” to get a small independent project off the ground called “Burning Palms,” an anthology film that he simply defines as “deviant.” “It’s still my favorite — extremely dark and really funny.”
Landon admits he’s drawn to stories about outcasts (“because I was one”) and macabre material (“I was raised on horror films and thrillers,” he admits, citing faves “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Alice Sweet Alice”).
But he’s also looking to expand his repertoire. “That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to work on ‘Dirty Sexy,’ ” he says. “It’s important to be challenged. That’s one of my primary goals — I always want to keep learning.”
Provenance: Los Angeles
Inspired by: Alfred Hitchcock (” ‘Rear Window’ is one of my favorite films”). “It might sound corny, but my dad (Michael Landon) was a big inspiration. His work was very much grounded in the emotional, and I really think I did learn that from him.”
Reps: Agents: Dawn Saltzman, Elia Infascelli-Smith at Endeavor; manager: Kevin Donahue at Code; attorney: Michael Schenkman at Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal LaViolette & Feldman