shawn levy smartless

Shawn Levy

Shawn Levy is a Canadian film director, producer, and actor, renowned for his diverse and successful career in the entertainment industry. Born on July 23, 1968, in Montreal, Quebec, Levy developed a passion for film at an early age. He attended Yale University, where he honed his skills in performing arts. Levy's directorial debut came with the family comedy "Big Fat Liar" in 2002, marking the beginning of a series of hit films. He gained widespread recognition for directing the "Night at the Museum" series, which showcased his flair for blending comedy with visually stunning effects. Levy's work extends beyond directing; he has produced several successful films and TV shows, including the critically acclaimed Netflix series "Stranger Things," further establishing him as a versatile and influential figure in Hollywood. Levy's contributions to the film industry have earned him accolades and a reputation as a storyteller who can captivate audiences of all ages. His ability to create engaging narratives, combined with his talent for producing visually appealing content, has made him a prominent figure in contemporary cinema.

SmartLess Podcast with Shawn Levy

In a recent episode of the SmartLess podcast, hosts Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes were joined by the acclaimed director and producer Shawn Levy. Known for directing blockbuster hits like “Stranger Things” and “Deadpool,” Levy shared insights into his career, personal life, and his unique approach to filmmaking. This article delves into the first part of this engaging conversation, highlighting key moments and insights.

The Opening Banter: A Glimpse into the Hosts’ Chemistry

The episode kicks off with the hosts’ characteristic banter, setting a light-hearted tone. Their conversation effortlessly shifts from everyday topics like diet preferences to more personal anecdotes. This easy-going rapport not only entertains but also showcases the hosts’ ability to connect with their audience on a relatable level.

Shawn Levy: The Man Behind the Camera

Shawn Levy’s entrance onto the podcast shifts the focus to his remarkable journey in Hollywood. Levy discusses his current project in Budapest, hinting at the demands and rewards of working on international locations. His explanation of adapting the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “All the Light We Cannot See” into a limited series is particularly fascinating, revealing his commitment to authenticity and storytelling.

Casting a Blind Actress: Breaking New Ground

One of the most compelling parts of the conversation is Levy’s decision to cast a legally blind actress for the lead role in his new project. This bold move not only speaks to his innovative spirit but also to his dedication to representation and inclusivity in the entertainment industry.

The Art of Directing: Levy’s Philosophy

Levy shares his philosophy on directing, emphasizing the importance of understanding and adapting to different genres. His approach is not about imprinting a personal style onto every project but rather about serving the story and its unique demands. This adaptability is a testament to his success in various genres, from comedy to drama.

Personal Insights: The Human Side of Shawn Levy

The discussion takes a more personal turn as Levy opens up about his childhood and the challenges he faced. This vulnerability adds depth to the conversation, allowing listeners to see beyond Levy’s professional achievements and understand the person behind the success.

Mid-Show Revelations: Levy’s Artistic Journey and Personal Reflections

The second segment of the SmartLess podcast with Shawn Levy continues to delve deeper into his artistic journey and personal life. Levy, known for his work on “Stranger Things” and “Deadpool,” shares more about his current project and his approach to directing, providing listeners with a unique behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of filmmaking.

Levy’s Current Project: A Passion for Authenticity

Levy discusses his ongoing project in Budapest, an adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “All the Light We Cannot See.” He details his decision to cast a legally blind actress for the lead role, demonstrating his commitment to authenticity and inclusivity. This choice not only challenges conventional casting norms but also enriches the storytelling process.

Directing with Sensitivity and Adaptability

Levy’s insights into directing a legally blind actress are particularly enlightening. He explains the unique methods employed to accommodate her needs, such as using sound for echo-location and tactile guides for marking positions. This part of the conversation highlights Levy’s adaptable directing style and his ability to create an inclusive and supportive environment on set.

Personal Struggles and Triumphs

Levy opens up about his challenging childhood, marked by his mother’s struggle with alcoholism and the eventual move to live with his father. His candid reflections add a layer of depth to the conversation, revealing the resilience and determination behind his success.

Embracing Life’s Journey: A Message of Resilience

The podcast takes a philosophical turn as Levy discusses the importance of embracing one’s gifts and acknowledging limitations. He stresses the significance of finding joy in the process of creation, rather than fixating on outcomes like box office success. This perspective resonates with the hosts, leading to a broader discussion about finding fulfillment and balance in life.

Shawn Levy’s Creative Vision and Personal Growth

In the final segment of the SmartLess podcast featuring Shawn Levy, the conversation takes a deep dive into his creative processes, personal growth, and the balance between work and personal life. This section of the podcast illuminates the intricacies of Levy’s work and his philosophical views on life and filmmaking.

Levy’s Creative Process in “All the Light We Cannot See”

Shawn Levy shares more about his adaptation of “All the Light We Cannot See,” emphasizing the unique challenges and rewards of directing a legally blind actress. His innovative methods, such as using sound for echo-location and tactile guides, highlight his commitment to authenticity and inclusivity. Levy’s dedication to capturing the essence of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in a limited series format demonstrates his deep respect for the source material.

Personal Growth and Embracing Life’s Journey

Levy opens up about his personal growth, reflecting on how his challenging childhood influenced his relentless pursuit of happiness. He discusses the importance of embracing one’s natural talents and accepting limitations, a perspective that resonates throughout the podcast. This section offers a glimpse into Levy’s philosophical approach to life, emphasizing joy and fulfillment over traditional measures of success like box office numbers.

Balancing Career and Family

A significant part of the discussion revolves around Levy’s realization of the importance of balancing his successful career with his family life. He shares candid moments about his daughters growing up and the finite nature of the years they will spend together. This segment touches on the universal themes of parenting, the passage of time, and finding balance between professional aspirations and personal relationships.

Philosophical Reflections on Midlife and Work

The podcast culminates with Levy and the hosts reflecting on midlife, the evolution of their careers, and the importance of enjoying the process of creation. Levy’s insights on finding fulfillment in work and life, and the realization that achievements are not the sole metric of success, provide a powerful conclusion to the conversation.


The final part of the SmartLess podcast with Shawn Levy offers a blend of professional wisdom, personal anecdotes, and philosophical musings. Levy’s experiences and reflections provide valuable insights into the life of a creative professional, balancing the demands of a successful career with the joys and challenges of personal life.