LAIKA, the studio responsible for features like Coraline, and ParaNorman is boosting its expansion into live-action by naming longtime Netflix executive Matt Levin as President, Live-Action Film & Series, the studio announced. The studio is actively developing its first ever live-action project, a film based on acclaimed screenwriter John Brownlow’s (The Miniaturist, Sylvia) action thriller novel Seventeen.
Levin previously 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. In his new role, he’ll report directly to President & CEO Travis Knight, director of Kubo and the Two Strings and Bumblebee. “Matt Levin is an awesome dude,” Knight said announcing Levin’s appointment. “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.”
During his Netflix stint, Levin oversaw the development and production of over 20 films including the upcoming Gareth Evans’ Havoc starring Tom Hardy, Forest Whitaker and Timothy Olyphant also the action-thriller Kate starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Woody Harrelson, Gerald’s Game based on Stephen King’s acclaimed novel from writer/director Mike Flanagan, Do Revenge and Someone Great from writer/director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and many more. He also propelled the streamer’s overall deals with acclaimed action filmmaker Evans and actor/producer Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. Speaking of his new designation Levin said, in a statement
“I’m thrilled to be coming on board at this exciting moment for LAIKA. 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.”
Exploring Matt Levin’s History in Entertainment
Prior to joining Netflix, Levin had stints at Ben Browning’s New York-based independent production and financing company Wayfare Entertainment, and Focus Features. Levin also worked with 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.
Laika meanwhile is looking to broaden its catalogue with features like animated feature Wildwood, based on the book series by Colin Meloy and illustrator Carson Ellis. The studio is also developing The Night Gardener, an animated film from an original idea by Ozark creator Bill Dubuque, as well as its first live-action feature film based on the action thriller novel Seventeen.