'What I Really Wanna Do is Direct': Movie Stars Turned Directors
Beginning long ago with Charlie Chaplin, those who star in front of the camera have taken a liking to working behind it, too. ‘Unbroken’ director Angelina Jolie is just the latest in a long line of recognizable movie stars turned directors. Here are a few of our all-time favorites.
Having successfully established himself as an actor on both the big and small screens, George Clooney first took on the role of director when he helmed the Chuck Barris biopic ‘Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.’ Since then he’s directed several films, and was nominated for a directing Oscar in 2005 for ‘Good Night, and Good Luck.’
After a distinguished career and a Best Actor Oscar for ‘Lilies of the Field,’ Sidney Portier stepped behind the camera to direct some of the funniest comedies of the day, including the Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder blockbuster ‘Stir Crazy.’
Having practically grown up in front of the camera, it was only natural for this Yale valedictorian to step behind it as a director. Since directing her first feature film, ‘Little Man Tate,’ Foster has gone on to direct numerous features and television shows.
A successful TV and spaghetti Western star, Clint stepped behind the camera to direct the 1971 feature film ‘Play Misty for Me.’ Since then he has been regularly nominated for directing awards, winning his first Best Director Oscar in 1993 for ‘Unforgiven.’
Dreaming of one day becoming a director, actor Ron Howard spent much of his time observing on set. Ron’s dream became a reality when he agreed to act in two films for low-budget producer Roger Corman with the stipulation that Corman allowed him to direct one of them. To date, Howard has now directed over 20 films, from ‘Splash’ to ‘The Da Vinci Code.’
After actor Ben Affleck won an Oscar for writing 1997’s ‘Good Will Hunting’ Hollywood took notice. A decade later, Ben decided to add directing to his list of skills – cumulating years later with a Golden Globe for Best Director for the 2012 film ‘Argo.’
Actor Kevin Costner had a very successful career as a leading man when he decided to step behind the camera to direct the film ‘Dances with Wolves.’ This turned out to be a very wise decision for the ‘Bull Durham’ star because he won a Best Director Oscar for his work on the film.
After a long career starring in blockbusters, Mel Gibson decided it was time to expand as an artist. Taking on the role of director, he proved to be just as adapt behind the camera as he was in front of it, garnering himself a Best Director Oscar for ‘Braveheart.’
Known for her breakout role as Laverne on TV’s ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ Penny Marshall cut her directing chops helming episodes of that show. Next she transitioned to feature films, directing Whoopi Goldberg in the 1986 hit ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ followed by the Tom Hanks classic, ‘Big.’
When comedian Jerry Lewis began to direct his own films he discovered that he had a problem: he wasn’t able to watch his own performance during a take. Not wanting to wait 24 hours for the footage to be developed, Jerry attached a video camera to the film camera to be able to view his performance after each take. Known today as “video assist,” this innovation revolutionized filmmaking.