US animation studio Laika hires Netflix exec for live-action & series push


US animation studio Laika has brought Netflix’s Matt Levin on board to help with its expansion into live-action, appointing the exec to the newly created role of president of live-action film & series.

Oregon-based Laika is behind animated features including Coraline, Missing Link and the upcoming Wildwood, and has also begun work in its first-ever live action project, a film based on screenwriter John Brownlow’s action thriller novel Seventeen.

Matt Levin

The firm aims to move into the live-action space and into series, with Levin leading the charge. He arrives at Laika after serving as Netflix’s director of original independent film from 2014 to 2022. While at the streamer, he co-founded the original independent film department and helped grow it into a full-scale mini-major studio. During his time there, he oversaw the development and production of 25 films including the upcoming Gareth Evans’ action film Havoc; the action-thriller Kate; and Gerald’s Game from writer/director Mike Flanagan and based on Stephen King’s novel.

Prior to joining Netflix, Levin had stints at Ben Browning’s New York-based indie 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.

Levin reports directly to Laika president & CEO Travis Knight, the director of Kubo And The Two Strings and Bumblebee, who commented: “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.”

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