Top 8 Actor-Directors
The Monuments Men, George Clooney’s latest production as actor-director, is out now in the UK on DVD. The film tells the true story of an unlikely group of soldiers who were tasked with returning artistic masterpieces to their rightful owners after they were stolen by the Nazis. The film is Clooney’s fifth as director following on from Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night And Good Luck, Leatherheads and The Ides of March.
So which are the top 8 actors who’ve also worked behind the camera?
1. Clint Eastwood
Eastwood his directing career with 1971’s Play Misty for Me and has since directed over 30 films. He prefers to avoid rehearsals and shoot prefers scenes to be shot on the first take. He’s won half the number of Best Director Academy Awards he’s been nominated for (two). Eastwood’s next outing as director is the forthcoming Jersey Boys.
2. Ron Howard
The world knew him as Richie Cunningham but Ron Howard’s real passion laid behind the camera. He started directing with 1977’s Grand Theft Auto and hasn’t looked back since. He’s only been Oscar nominated twice, winning with 2002’s A Beautiful Mind, which seems strange when you consider his career includes the likes of Apollo 13, Frost/Nixon and Rush. His next project, Heart of the Sea, is due for release in the UK in March 2015.
3. Ben Affleck
His career seemed to have hit a plateau and then came Argo. Affleck might not have even been nominated for the Oscar (what were you thinking Academy?) but his stock in Hollywood went through the roof. Next up (after his duties as Batfleck) is an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Live by Night. Lehane also wrote Affleck’s directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone.
4. Kenneth Branagh
After establishing himself with various Shakespearian adaptations, Branagh has gone on to direct more box-office friendly far of late. He established the world of Asgard in the first Thor movie, tackled the CIA in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and will venture into fantasy with 2015’s Cinderella. Did you know he was the first man to be nominated in five different categories at the Oscars? (Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Live Action Short Film).
And to find out more about Branagh’s new Cinderella movie, check out our interview with one of its stars, Nonso Anozie, below!
5. Jodie Foster
We all know what an amazing actor Foster is but she’s proving herself to be just as good behind the camera. Most recently she’s been working with Netflix, directing episodes of both House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
6. Robert Redford
Redford made his directorial debut with Ordinary People and promptly walked off with the Best Director Oscar. Could he top that? Well his subsequent films include A River Runs Through It, Quiz Show, Lions for Lambs and The Conspirator. He might not have reached those dizzying heights again but his films are always engaging and thought provoking.
7. Rob Reiner
Yes Reiner is better known as a director but he still pops up as an actor. Can anyone forget his turn as Max Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (“$26,000 worth of sides? What are these sides? They cure cancer?”) He’s also directed some absolute classics: This is Spinal Tap, Stand By Me, When Harry Met Sally, Misery. He more than earns his place on my list.
8. Sydney Pollack
Still one of my favourite directors despite his death in 2008. Like Reiner, he starred in and directed some absolute gems: Tootsie, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Firm.
So that’s a few of my favourite actor/directors. I’m sure you think I’ve missed off some major names – feel free to tell me in the comments section below!