Take Two: Actors who direct

As if it’s not enough being a Hollywood actor, more and more of the A-listers are turning to directing as well. The Town is released in the UK today, a film in which Ben Affleck not only stars, but also directs. Affleck has certainly proved his ability as a director, but what about the rest? We have a look at the actors who have made the transition from being in front of the camera to being behind it, and whether they have what it takes to be directors.

1. Drew Barrymore

As seen in: E.T, The Wedding Singer

Directed: Whip It

Action or Cut? Drew previously had experience in producing with her company Flower Films, which made films such as He’s Just Not That into You. Her directorial debut was with Whip It, which got some really good reviews, however the film failed to make waves in the box office.

2. Clint Eastwood

As seen in: The ‘Dollars’ trilogy, Dirty Harry

Directed: Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Changeling and plenty more

Action or Cut? Action all the way. There is no stopping this man as he directs one excellent film after another. He won an Oscar in 2005 for Million Dollar Baby, was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for Mystic River and won one in 1993 for Unforgiven. His acting hasn’t slipped either as he’s won a couple of Oscars for that as well in recent years.

3. Ben Stiller

As seen in: Zoolander, Meet the Parents

Directed: Tropic Thunder, The Cable guy, Zoolander and a few others

Action or cut? Stiller is a little hit and miss with both the films he acts in and directs. Known mainly for his comedy films, sometimes he’s hilarious and at other times not so much. He’s won a fair few awards for his acting, but none so far for his directing.

4. Robert De Niro

As seen in: Meet the Fockers, Taxi Driver

Directed: The Good Shepherd A Bronx Tale

Action or cut? The Good Shepherd had fairly mixed reviews, erring towards the positive. However it was not a patch on his work as an actor where he has made his name as a bonafide Hollywood legend.

5. George Clooney

As seen in: Ocean’s Eleven, Up in the Air

Directed: Leatherheads, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Good Night, and Good Luck

Action or cut? As a director he isn’t terrible but he hasn’t exactly blown anyone away. His directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, received the most praise, but he still is better known and loved as an actor.

6. John Cassavetes

As seen in: Rosemary’s Baby, The Dirty Dozen

Directed: Plenty of films including Big Trouble, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Husbands.

Action or Cut? Cassavetes is widely considered to be a pioneer of American cinéma vérité. He was nominated for various awards for both his acting and directing work and I think most people would find it hard to choose what he is best at.

7.Mel Gibson

As seen in: Braveheart, Lethal Weapon

Directed: Apocalypto, The Passion of the Christ, The Man Without a Face and Braveheart

Action or Cut? Up until The Passion of the Christ, everyone thought he was pretty normal, but then his slightly OTT religious views came out and things started going a little down hill really. So, we think maybe he should just stick to the acting and saying only what people pay him to, that’s if he wants to stop being so disliked.

8. Kevin Costner

As seen in: Robin Hood, The Untouchables

Directed: Open Range, The Postman, Waterworld, Dances with Wolves.

Action or cut? Dances with Wolves was and still is a hugely popular film that did really well in the box office and won the Best Picture Academy Award, beating the likes of Goodfellas. Costner is considered to be a dependable actor, but since Dances with Wolves he’s chosen to direct some less than mind-blowing projects. Waterworld anyone?

9. Johnny Depp

As seen in: Edward Scissorhands, Pirates of the Caribbean

Directed: The Brave

Action or cut? Apart from The Brave in 1997, Depp has only worked as director on one TV short. The film was apparently never released in the US and elsewhere it got mixed reviews. That’s probably why he’s stuck to acting since then.

10. Ethan Hawke

As seen in: Dead Poets Society, Gattaca

Directed: The Hottest State, Chelsea Walls

Action or cut? Both his movies were both pretty low key, Chelsea Walls was an independent movie and The Hottest State only had limited theatrical release. However The Hottest State was based on a novel Hawke had also written, so while they may not have set the box office alight, they show he is certainly multi-talented.

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