The Oregon-based animation studio Laika has named longtime Netflix executive Matt Levin as president, live-action film and series. In addition to being in production on its sixth animated movie Wildwood, the studio is currently developing its first ever live-action project, a film based on acclaimed screenwriter John Brownlow’s (The Miniaturist, Sylvia) action thriller novel Seventeen.
Levin reports directly to Laika president and CEO Travis Knight. “Matt Levin is an awesome dude,” said Knight. “Both a steely-eyed pragmatist and a starry-eyed dreamer, Matt is the perfect partner to spearhead Laika’s live-action division. His exceptional leadership skills, creative sensitivity, and sharp storytelling mind will guide our studio to the next phase of its evolution, and into exciting new genres, media, and formats. At seventeen years old, Laika is grunting our way through the disaffected teenager stage of our development. Matt’s gonna help us become a proper grown-up.”
"I'm thrilled to be coming on board at this exciting moment for Laika,” said Levin. “I've loved and admired Laika’s bold, original, and ground-breaking animated films since the studio came on the scene. I'm excited to honor and build on that legacy as we forge ahead into live-action films and series in this promising new chapter."
Levin served as director, original independent film at Netflix from 2014 to 2022, where he co-founded the Original Independent Film department and helped grow it into a full-scale mini-major studio. During his Netflix stint, he championed and oversaw the development and production of 25 films including the upcoming Gareth Evans’ actioner Havoc starring Tom Hardy, Forest Whitaker and Timothy Olyphant; the action-thriller Kate starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson; Gerald’s Game from writer/director Mike Flanagan and based on Stephen King’s acclaimed novel; Do Revenge and Someone Great from writer/director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson; Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things starring Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley and Toni Collette; Tamara Jenkins’ Private Life starring Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti; Nicole Holofcener’s The Land of Steady Habits, starring Ben Mendelsohn and Edie Falco, and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore from writer/director Macon Blair. Additionally, Levin brought in overall deals with acclaimed action filmmaker Gareth Evans and actor/producer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.
Prior to joining Netflix, Levin had stints at Ben Browning’s New York-based independent production and financing company Wayfare Entertainment, Focus Features, and Anthony Bregman’s production shingle Likely Story, where he worked on films including Sebastian Cordero’s sci-fi thriller Europa Report, Joe Wright’s Hanna; Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg, and Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York.