12 Hollywood Stars Who Tried Directing

Posted By Kaptain Kush

It’s not uncommon for actors to dabble in other creative works and projects—their creative abilities and acting experience often provide them with the skills and tools to succeed in many creative roles. 

Let’s face it: many of the stars on this list could simply continue their acting careers or retire and just focus on their hobbies (like playing poker with other retired actors or accessing the largest collection of free online roulette games). But for whatever reason, they decide to exercise their skill and creativity in the director role. For many of them, directing has been a natural fit, where they’ve excelled in the position and entertained us with their skill set.

Here are 12 Hollywood stars who have tried directing (many of them have seen massive success from doing so).

1. Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig is a multi-talented creative who has made a name for herself through acting, playwriting, screenwriting, and directing. As an actor, she is in well-known movies like No Strings Attached. But directing movies like Barbie, Little Women, and Lady Bird is where she’s truly made a name for herself. 

Her directorial work has earned her great recognition, with the Barbie movie alone earning her nine Golden Globe award nominations.

2. Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck has always wanted to be an actor and got his start in a Burger King commercial, but his big movie debut was Dazed and Confused (the same movie that also got Matthew McConaughey his start). His work with Matt Damon also garnered him a great deal of attention and recognition for behind-the-camera work when they wrote the script for Goodwill Hunting that landed them multiple Academy Awards. 

He’s since dabbled in directorial work for movies, including Argo, and he currently has two directorial works underway, Keeper of the Lost Cities and Witness for the Prosecution.

3. Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele, like Greta Gerwig and Ben Affleck, is skilled in many areas of film production, including acting, writing, producing, and directing. He’s even gone further than Gerwig and Affleck by founding his production company, Monkeypaw Productions.

His work as a director includes films like Get Out and Us. His directorial work has been amazingly well-received, with Get Out receiving a great deal of buzz, including winning multiple Academy Awards.

4. Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is well-known for his acting work, where he’s starred in major feature films like Limitless, American HustleThe Hangover, and Silver Linings Playbook, and even voiced the beloved character Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy. He’s also dived into the role of movie director by taking on the role for major movies like A Star Is Born and Maestro.

5. Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller

Ben Stiller has made a name for himself with his role in Zoolander and Zoolander 2, but you might be surprised to find out he also directed both movies. And it’s not just these two movies that he’s directed; he’s directed many successful box office movies like The Cable Guy and even multiple episodes of the critically acclaimed TV series Severance.

6. Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington is a highly awarded actor known for his acting skills and roles in major motion pictures like The Book of Eli, The Equalizer, Flight, and Malcolm X. He’s also dabbled in the director role with films like Fences, The Great Debaters, and Antwone Fisher

7. Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill has had many roles throughout his acting career, taking him from films like Superbad and 21 Jumpstreet to Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street. Along the way, he’s also jumped into the world of directing, primarily for music videos for big artists like Travis Scott and full-length movies such as Mid90s.

8. Brie Larson

Brie Larson

Brie Larson may be best known for her role as Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, in the Marvel movies, but her career has encompassed much more than just this superhero role. She’s also directed several films, including Unicorn Store, and has one in pre-production. 

9. John Krasinski

John Krasinski

John Krasinski has shown his range as an actor, from the comedic-driven sitcom The Office to the action-packed series Jack Ryan. In addition to these roles, he’s also developed a wide range of skills in other areas of film and TV production, including as a director.

He’s directed major films like A Quiet Place and has, like Ben Stiller, also directed episodes of TV shows (in Krasinski’s case, he directed several episodes of The Office). He’s also directing an up-and-coming movie, IF, starring big names like Ryan Reynolds, Maya Rudolph, Steve Carell, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, and Louis Gossett Jr.

10. Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster

Jodie Fosterwho has been acting since she was two, has an expansive acting history that showcases her range and skill as an actor. However, you may have yet to learn that Foster has been dabbling in the world of directing since the early nineties. 

Her early directing includes Home for the Holidays (with Robert Downey Jr.) and Little Man Tate (with Dianne Wiest). Since these films, she’s also showcased her directorial skill with episodes of Black Mirror and Orange Is the New Black.

11. George Clooney

George Clooney

George Clooney started acting in the late 1970s and has amassed many acting credits since then. And in 2002, he started adding directing to his repertoire by directing Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Some of the most popular movies he’s directed include The Monuments Men and Ides of March. Like many A-list stars on this list, he’s also directed TV episodes and series.

12. Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie is a powerhouse Academy Award-winning actor who has starred in huge blockbuster films that have captivated audiences, like Maleficent, Salt, and Girl, Interrupted. But in addition to acting in critically acclaimed movies, she’s also directed heavy and thought-provoking films like First They Killed My Father and Unbroken.

… And That’s a Wrap!

While these actors may not need the distinction or work of directing, by taking on a director role, they’ve brought us many of our favourite films and TV shows—and we can all be grateful for that.

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