Shawn Levy is busy. Its actor Ryan Reynolds free guy just debuted at No. 1; Netflix, where he and his 21 towers have 15 projects in active development, announced season four of the global phenomenon this month. Strange things will be created in 2022; and he is preparing a stage version of Night at the museum, to name just a few of the things on her plate.
But Shawn Levy doesn’t need to remember how busy Shawn Levy is because whenever the prolific 53-year-old director-producer named Shawn Levy launches a project, the 59-year-old Portland-based journalist-turned-writer named Shawn Levy finds out by checking his emails. With an identical name (their first names both start with A) and a generic email address, Portland’s Levy sent out thousands of messages intended for the other guy. You name it, he has it – CV, audition tapes, voice memos, letters from fans, desperate calls to meet Millie Bobby Brown, marketing campaign pitches and even an apology from a parent for not responding more. early to a Hanukkah card (“She was very snippy, too,” he says).
“I literally get emails every day of my life for him,” said Levy of Portland. Hollywood journalist. “I can know when a new season of Strange things goes around the world because I start receiving emails from territories when it first starts. Children in India, Brazil, Italy and Mexico send emails asking if they can participate in the next season or come up with story ideas. Today I got one from an adult who asked me if Shawn remembered him when delivering supplies from Office Depot.
One surprisingly sweet thing about the situation is the pride Portland’s Levy has in its Hollywood counterpart. “He’s had an incredible streak of movies that started at # 1 – shot after shot,” he explains of Levy’s success with films that have collectively grossed over $ 2 billion. “If someone asked you who had that many consecutive No. 1s, you might think of Spielberg or Scorsese, but they don’t – that’s Shawn Levy.”
Shawn Levy of Portland is no slouch. He was a film critic for Oregonian a passage and has published a dozen books including biographies of Paul Newman, Jerry Lewis and Robert De Niro as well as Rat Pack Confidential and The castle at sunset: life, death, love, art and scandal at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. He has two new books on the horizon. One is titled In on the Joke: The Original Standing Comedy Queens by Doubleday, and the second is a collection of poems. He associates the latter with a chapbook containing 30 to 40 of the best emails he sent for the other Levy.
“I saved hundreds of them,” he says. “I used to delete them all, but now I save them in a folder that contains almost 600 from all over the world. This is a testament to the reach of Netflix. And it’s a testament to Portland Levy’s patience in being able to sift through all the correspondence. “It would slow down his day at a breakneck pace,” he said of the volume. “I know people are usually paid to do this stuff off. It’s amazing to think of echoes of fame.
But don’t get fooled. Even if you want to reach the free guy filmmaker and you email, Levy from Portland says this is his standard response: “I’m sorry, I’m not filmmaker Shawn Levy and I don’t know how to reach him.”
A version of this story first appeared in the August 18 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.