The 6 Best Actors-Turned-Directors

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s acting career is on a high at the moment thanks to his sidekick role in The Dark Knight Rises and portrayal of a young Bruce Willis in sci-fi hit Looper. Even his ‘other’ film of 2012 (*cough* Premium Rush *cough*) couldn’t dampen the hype.

But it seems it’s still not enough for the Inception star who has announced that his directorial debut Don Jon’s Addiction will premiere at Sundance Film Festival 2013. Given that his first attempt has made it into Sundance, it looks likely the ranks of the actor-turned-director elite are about to gain another member. Here are six of the best.


Jon Favreau
Jon Favreau may not be a name you’d recognise immediately but if you’re a Friends addict you’ll know him as the charming millionaire boyfriend of Monica’s in season 3. He gave Marvel Studios their first worldwide blockbuster with Iron Man, entered the ranks of the classic Christmas comedies with Elf and even took on the questionable Cowboys & Aliens. Rumour has it the only reason he’s not directing Iron Man 3 is due to the studio’s budget constraints (read: he so successful he now costs too much).

Next Directing Job: A film version of musical Jersey Boys which charts the rise of the Four Seasons.

Ben Affleck
This might seem like a bit of an obvious choice but with the incredible Argo recently hitting cinemas how could we not include Ben Affleck? He’s no stranger to working behind the camera after writing Good Will Hunting with pal Matt Damon but it was directorial debut Gone Baby Gone that really showed his talent. Starring his little brother Casey, this story about two Boston detectives who investigate a little girl’s kidnapping catapulted him to the top echelons of actor-turned-directors.

Next Directing Job: With Argo still in cinemas Ben Affleck apparently took on his role in Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder to pick up more directing tips.


Ron Howard
Best known as Richie Cunningham from Happy Days Ron Howard made his directorial debut before leaving the show with 1977’s Grand Theft Auto. He eventually left his cult TV standing behind to focus on directing and since then has racked up an impressive number of films. Ok, so his directorial CV does include the disastrous Willow but A Beautiful Mind, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Da Vinci Code and Frost/Nixon more than make up for this blunder.

Next Directing Job: Ron Howard’s biography of Formula 1 champion Niki Lauda will be out next year and he’s also set to direct documentary Jay-Z: Made In America.

Clint Eastwood
When most actors would be slowing things down and enjoying their millions Eastwood directed greats such as Million Dollar Baby, Gran Torino and J. Edgar – and hasn’t stopped since. But he only got to make his directorial debut with 1971’s Play Misty For Me on the condition that he waive his usual acting fee.

Next Directing Job: Since J. Edgar in 2011 Clint Eastwood has gone back in front of the camera for Trouble With The Curve – out now.

Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner played Meathead in the classic ’70s sitcom All In The Family and although lately his films have been a cop-out (namely The Bucket List and Rumor Has It… ) you can’t deny the man that’s directed such classics as This Is Spinal Tap, A Few Good Men, Misery, When Harry Met Sally, Stand By Me (which he considers his masterpiece) and The Princess Bride.

Next Directing Job: His next project You Belong To Me is still in pre-production but already has Harrison Ford and Zac Efron linked to it.

George Clooney
Clooney might be better known for his ability to make women swoon but he’s also a quality director with his most recent film The Ides Of March gaining him a nomination for Best Director at the 69th Golden Globe Awards. Like most ‘struggling’ directors he managed to talk his friends into acting in his directorial debut Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, for a reduced fee. Then again his friends were Julia Roberts and Drew Barrymore and the ‘reduced fee’ was $250,000.

Next Directing Job: George Clooney’s The Monuments Men already has an all-star cast in place including Daniel Craig, Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray.


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