Top 5 Actors-Turned-Directors

Every once in a while a great actor surprises us all by proving they’re just as talented behind the camera as they are in front of it. To celebrate the DVD and Blu-ray release of Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut, Don Jon (18), we decided to take a look at five of the best actors-turned-directors.

1. Gene Kelly
After singing, dancing, and schmoozing his way through a plethora of successful films in the early 40s, Gene Kelly made his feature-film debut as a director in 1949 with On The Town, starring himself and Frank Sinatra. However, it was his second time in the director’s chair that saw him take the world by storm as he co-directed one of the greatest and best-loved films of all time: Singin’ In The Rain. Multi-talented Kelly once again took on the leading role in the musical, leaving us to wonder if there was anything that the Hollywood legend couldn’t do?

2. Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood rose to fame during the 60s by starring in Sergio Leone’s trilogy of spaghetti Westerns. He began dabbling in directing from as early as the 70s but it was his 1992 film, Unforgiven, that saw Eastwood gain the respect of the industry as he took home a Best Director Oscar for the film, as well as receiving a nomination for Best Actor. Eastwood went on to gain Oscar wins and nominations for many other films; from ones that he starred in, such as Million Dollar Baby (2004), to films where he stayed firmly behind the camera, including Mystic River (2003) and Letters from Iwo Jima (2006).

3. George Clooney
George Clooney has had a dazzling career as a fully-fledged movie star after getting his big break on E.R. in 1994. Making the swift transition from the small to the big screen, Clooney took on roles in blockbusters including Three Kings (1999), O Brother Where Art Thou (2000), and the Oceans trilogy. Clooney’s debut into directing feature films was Good Night, and Good Luck in 2005, instantly proving he has a flair for the job as the film was nominated for no less than six Oscars! Sticking to what appears to be actor-turned-director tradition, Clooney has starred in all of the films that he’s directed, including the less successful Leatherheads (2008), Oscar-nominated The Ides of March (2011), and most recently The Monuments Men (2014).

4. Ben Affleck 
Teamed with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck proved himself a force to be reckoned with in 1997 when the best buddies wrote and starred in the brilliant Good Will Hunting. Writing and acting clearly wasn’t enough for the Pearl Harbour actor though and he tried his hand at directing feature films in 2007 with crime-drama Gone Baby Gone, followed by The Town in 2010. However, it was the 2012 hit Argo that really made everybody sit up and pay attention to Affleck as a director, with the biopic cleaning up in 2013 winning a multitude of awards, including three Oscars. Affleck was clearly taken aback by the huge critical acclaim that his project received and one thing is for sure, we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been an underrated treasure of cinema for years, with most remembering him as the long-haired boy from television series Third Rock From The Sun up until recently. However, Gordon-Levitt has turned his incredible acting talents to a huge variety of roles; from rom-coms such as 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), to gritty indie flicks like Gregg Araki’s Mysterious Skin (2004), to Hollywood blockbusters including Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). Unbeknownst to many, whilst acting his socks off in film upon film, the actor was also running an online collaborative production company, hitRECord, where he was proving himself as a producer, writer, director, editor, and composer in a series of shorts. Gordon-Levitt finally showed off his many talents to a wider audience last year by writing, directing and starring in Don Jon – his feature-length, directorial debut.

Don Jon tells the story of Jon (Gordon-Levitt), a man so obsessed with pornography that he can’t find happiness in his relationship with Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), who holds similarly unrealistic expectations from her infatuation with romantic films. With just the right amount of subtle, comedic undertones, great structure and snappy scenes throughout, Gordon-Levitt effortlessly proves himself as both a director and a writer as he finally gets the mainstream acknowledgment that he has long deserved!

Don Jon is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now!