Jonathan Levine Biography, Age, Career, Long Shot, Interview, and Filmography.

Jonathan Levine, born Jonathan A. Levine is a film director and screenwriter from the United States. He is famous for directing the 2011 American comedy-drama film, 50/50.

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Jonathan Levine Biography

Jonathan Levine, born Jonathan A. Levine is a film director and screenwriter from the United States. He is famous for directing the 2011 American comedy-drama film, 50/50.

Jonathan Levine Age

He was born on the 18th of June in 1976. He was 42 years old as of 2018.

Jonathan Levine Career

Early short films
He was nominated for a Best Independent Mini-Feature Award at the 2006 Black Reel Awards for his 2004 AFI Thesis short film Shards. Additionally, the film also won a Certificate of Excellence at the 2005 Brooklyn Film Festival for Best Cinematography by Petra Korner. He was the writer and director behind the 2005 documentary short entitled Love Bytes.

Feature films and TV
In 2006, he had his feature directorial debut with the dramatic horror film All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. The film starred Amber Heard with the screenplay written by Jacob Forman. At the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, the film had its premiere. This was followed by screenings at the Sitges Film Festival, the IFI Horrorthon, at the French Cinemathèque, London FrightFest Film Festival, and South by Southwest.

Levine wrote and directed the 2008 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, The Wackness, starring Josh Peck. The film won the Audience Award at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, the film also won Best Narrative Feature at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, The Most Popular Feature Film Award at the 2008 Melbourne International Film Festival. The film went on to win Best International Feature Film at the 2008 Zurich Film Festival.

He directed the 2011 American comedy-drama film, 50/50. The film starred Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anna Kendrick. The film went on to win a number of awards such as the Audience Award at the 2011 Aspen Filmfest, the Audience Award at the 2011 Stockholm Film Festival and the Achille Valdata Award at the 2011 Torino International Film Festival /Torino International Festival of Young Cinema.

Levine directed the 2013 American paranormal romantic comedy film, Warm Bodies. The film stars Nicholas Hoult who plays the role of a zombie who is slowly able to regain his health and humanity and return to normal life. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by author Isaac Marion.

In 2014, he directed the pilot episode of the TV series he created with Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo, Rush. However, despite good reception, the series ended after one season on the USA Network.

He directed and co-wrote the 2015 Christmas comedy film, The Night Before. The film stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie, Lizzy Caplan, Mindy Kaling, Jillian Bell and a cameo by Miley Cyrus.

Prior to his own directorial career taking-off, Levine was the assistant to film director Paul Schrader.

Currently, he is in pre-production to direct a film called Legend. The film is based on a book and series of the same name by Marie Lu.

He filmed a pilot for a 2017 Showtime comedy series titled I’m Dying Up Here. The show is based in part on the 2010 non-fiction book of the same name by William Knoedelseder about the stand-up comedy scene in LA during the 1970s. The show was created by executive producer Jim Carrey.

It has been made public knowledge that Levine will direct Brooklyn Castle which is a feature film adaptation of the 2012 documentary Brooklyn Castle. The storyline tells about a group of New York’s inner city, junior high school kids who wanted to compete in a highly prestigious, highly selective national chess tournament the United States Chess Federation’s National High School Championship.

Writing
He has numerous credits as both a writer or a co-writer for the screenplays of feature or short films that he directed such as 2004 short film, Shards, 2005 documentary short, Love Bytes, 2008 film, The Wackness, 2013 film, Warm Bodies, 2015 film, The Night Before. Additionally, Levine has also written an episode of the TV series The Screen Junkies Show entitled “Zombie Acting Tips” in 2013. He also wrote the screenplay for the 2009 short film, The Weight.

He also wrote, created and executive produced (along with Gina Matthews and Grant Scharbo) the medical drama TV series Rush. Specifically, he wrote two episodes: the “Pilot” (which he also directed) and “Don’t Ask Me Why” both in 2014.

Producing
He was the producer behind the 2016 film Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates. The film stars Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Anna Kendrick, and Aubrey Plaza.

Additionally, he also served as an executive producer on the 2014 medical drama TV series he created for the USA Network, Rush.

Jonathan Levine Long Shot

Long Shot is a 2019 American romantic comedy film. The film was directed by Jonathan Levine. Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron star in the film. The storyline follows a journalist who begins to spend time with his former babysitter, who is now running for President.

The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on the 9th of March in 2019. It is scheduled for release in United States on the 3rd of May in 2019, by Lionsgate.

Jonathan Levine Interview

EMMA BROWN: I know you worked for Paul Schrader when you were in your early 20s. Was that your first job in film?

JONATHAN LEVINE: It actually was. I was Paul Schrader’s assistant. I worked at the Paramount building in New York. I was a terrible assistant. He had an amazing library of old movies on VHS that I would watch when I was supposed to be working. He was an incredible person to be around, and someone I completely idealize. It was really an amazing entry into the world of film.

BROWN: How did you get the job?

LEVINE: My girlfriend at the time was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s assistant, and so she tapped into that world and told me there was a job opening. I have no idea why he hired me, but he did.

BROWN: How were you a bad assistant?

LEVINE: I was 23 in New York, so I would often come in hungover, probably reeking of booze. Schrader, as much as in the ’70s I think he was one of those wild auteurs, was not at that point in his life. He was a very disciplined, working writer-director. I remember one time, he was like, “Send this script to Warren Beatty,” which is a big deal—he wants Warren Beatty to act in this movie. So I printed out the script, sent it, and then the next day learned that I’d forgotten to include the last page of the script. That was probably my biggest fuck up.

BROWN: Were you already planning to go to film school?

LEVINE: No, but I had always wanted to be a director. Film school came up halfway into when I was working for Paul. He’d actually gone to AFI, which is where I went. So I applied to a bunch of film schools. I think that was actually the only one I got into, but it turned out to be a great choice and it really, really launched my career.

BROWN: Did you have another job between graduating and working for Paul?

LEVINE: Right after college, right before the internet bubble burst, I was working as a “solutions partner” at a web consulting firm. Another job where I had no idea what to do, or even what I was supposed to be doing. I think my first day on the job, they laid-off half the company. I’d just put down a year’s rent on an apartment in the East Village, so I hid there for about a year until they ultimately realized I wasn’t doing anything.

BROWN: How did you get involved with Snatched?

LEVINE: Katie [Dippold] had written this really wonderful script, and Paul [Feig] was producing it. I think Paul was going to direct it at some point, and then he went off to do Ghostbusters. I had just finished The Night Before, and I was a big fan of Katie’s writing and of Amy’s, and she was attached. I just really fell for it. Then I met with Amy in New York and I wrote her a long letter about what the movie meant to me, and what the script meant to me, and we agreed to do it together.

LEVINE: I had just had my baby, and it had gotten me thinking about the relationship between myself and my own parents, and how you assume your parents’ lives are over to a certain extent when they have kids. You really don’t think of your parents as human beings. That was the context within which I was reading it. I was like, “I’m a parent. I’m a human being still. I want to live!”

BROWN: Did you tell your parents about this revelation?

LEVINE: No. You would think I would have, but I kept it to myself and just put it into the movie. [laughs] I did watch the movie with my mom, and I think that she appreciated the sentiment as she was watching it.

BROWN: Before Snatched, Goldie Hawn hadn’t done a film in 15 years. When did her name come up, and what made you think she might be interested in doing a movie at all?

LEVINE: Amy was pitching her from the beginning, and I didn’t know, really. I was a huge Goldie Hawn fan, as so many people are, but I didn’t know if she would want to do it, or why she hadn’t worked. Amy had met Goldie in the months after Trainwreck, and they had a mutual respect and admiration for each other. We all sat down together in L.A., and I just was taken with Goldie, as anyone would be when you meet her. Not just because of her filmography and screen presence, but because she’s an amazing person. She’s so fun.

BROWN: As a director, do you have a different relationship to a script that you wrote versus one that someone else wrote?

LEVINE: You have a similar relationship. When you didn’t write the script, there’s a degree of objectivity that you can bring to it. A lot of times when I’m writing, if something doesn’t work, it’s harder for me to diagnose. That’s why I like going back and forth between the two. When I’m writing something, by the time I’m done making it, I’m so sick of my own writing that I’m like, “Someone else has got to be better at this than me.” So I find a great script from an amazing writer like Katie. Now that I’m done with this, I’m getting more warmed up to my own writing. It’s this constant back-and-forth, but the approach is still the same. You’re still trying to hone it and make it as funny as possible, as heartwarming as possible. It’s just sometimes a little easier when you haven’t written it and you have this amazing brain trust between Katie and Amy Schumer and her sister Kim [Caramele].

Jonathan Levine.

BROWN: When you’ve written something, do you feel like you have all the answers?

BROWN: I also wanted to talk about I’m Dying Up Here, which I loved. You directed the pilot. Is it hard to say goodbye to everyone after just one episode?

LEVINE: It really is. We put together this wonderful family. When you’re making a pilot, especially about a group of comedians like this, you build a rapport, and it’s about conveying the effortless nature of hanging out and staying up late and going to Canters [Deli in L.A.] and talking shit. All the actors took it pretty seriously, building this family, so it’s really hard when you do have to break that up. Then I went off and did Snatched, and it was hard to know that they were under the wing of a different director. I missed everyone. But I still stay in touch with a lot of those guys.

BROWN: Television actors sometimes talk about how weird it can be working with different directors for each episode. The director will come in and they won’t know what everyone’s been doing, or how they’ve been doing it. Would you ever direct a third episode, for example, or did you purposefully only do the pilot? Is that something you’ve thought about or dealt with?

LEVINE: When you come from film, doing a pilot is a lot easier because you have a little bit more time and you can really execute it in a more cinematic way. Doing an episode is really, really tricky. The people who come in and do episodes, that’s an amazing skill set that they have. But I want to do it for I’m Dying Up Here because I have a shorthand with all those actors. I did do an episode of a TV show once, and I really hated the experience. It’s like going into high school and all the kids know each other, and you’re the new kid and you’re supposed to tell everyone what to do. It’s a very strange feeling dropping into that social dynamic. So much of directing is about having a high social IQ and reading various social cues. When you don’t have that, I don’t think you can be as good at your job—at least for me.

BROWN: Do you feel like you’re pretty socially aware outside of work?

LEVINE: [laughs] I do. Maybe hyper-aware. Maybe neurotic and paranoid. But it comes in handy sometimes. I’m socially aware maybe up until, let’s say, three glasses of wine.

BROWN: As the director of the pilot, how involved were you in the casting process for I’m Dying Up Here?

LEVINE: We were all very involved in it. We went to comedy clubs in L.A., we poured through tapes of actors. There were people that I knew from working in the world of comedy; people that [the creator] Dave [Flebotte] knew from working in television. Everyone brought an idea to the table. It was not necessarily always a democratic way of figuring it out. Sometimes someone would come in and I would say to Dave, “As written, that’s not who that person is on the page.” And Dave was like, “I don’t care. That guy is so funny that we can change what’s on the page.” When you’re directing a pilot, you’re trying to execute the vision of the writer; TV is a writer’s medium. At the same time, what was great about Dave was he had the flexibility to approach it as a tapestry. Though it certainly is a drama, it was, “Let’s find really funny people. Let’s find people with amazing acting chops. Let’s find standups who can act and actors who can do standup.” Once we zoomed out, we ended up with this incredibly eclectic cast.

Interview from Interview Magazine.

Jonathan Levine Filmography

Year

Title

Director

Writer

Producer

2004

Shards

Yes

Yes

No

2005

Love Bytes

Yes

Yes

No

2006

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

Yes

No

No

2008

The Wackness

Yes

Yes

No

2011

50/50

Yes

No

No

2013

Warm Bodies

Yes

Yes

No

2014

Rush

Yes

No

executive

2015

The Night Before

Yes

Yes

No

2016

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates

No

No

Yes

2017

Snatched

Yes

No

No

2019

Long Shot

Yes

No

No

 Jonathan Levine Twitter

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