This past weekend actor Ewan McGregor made his directorial debut with his new film American Pastoral. As of the initial critical reception, this film isn’t doing as well as most films do on their opening weekend. In the past we’ve all seen our favorite actors give directing a try. Sometimes this results in a masterpiece and leads to a much bigger career in directing. Other times we see the rise and fall of brilliant actors who should probably stick to acting. Let’s explore some of the best and worst actors and actresses who turned to directing.
When you think about classic Western films it is impossible to not think of Clint Eastwood. He made himself known in the industry as the manly, gritty, rough loner that wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything. Along with acting, Eastwood became respected in the field of directing during the prime of his acting career. His early directing credits included such classics as The Outlaw Josey Wales, Pale Rider and Unforgiven. Fast-forward to today and he is still a powerhouse director with his most recent film Sully staring Tom Hanks.
George Clooney is one of those actors that only come around once in every generation. His demeanor is so calm and collected and he has the voice of a movie star. Beginning his career on the long running show E/R, Clooney slowly climbed his way to the top of the film industry. He proved his acting abilities with such notable films as Three Kings, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, The Perfect Storm, and the Ocean’s Eleven films. Over the years Clooney tried directing a few films and that were overall very well received. He carried his sophistication and class into his directing in The Monuments Men, The Ides of March and Good Night, and Good Luck.
For most people, Ron Howard has always been a well-known director in the entertainment industry. Believe it or not, Ron Howard was an actor well before he directed such classics as A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, and The Da Vinci Code series. Back in the 1960’s, a young Ron Howard played Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. Howard went on to do a lot of work in television with such hits as Happy Days and Arrested Development.
In the romantic comedy genre there are so many standout performers. One actress that has always stuck out is Drew Barrymore. With her infectious laugh, bubbly personality and great comedic timing she has proven herself to be a great addition to any comedy film. Barrymore stepped into the spotlight at the young age of 7 in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In her later years she became involved in many romantic comedies such as Never Been Kissed and The Wedding Singer, which began her partnership with fellow comedian Adam Sandler and her very own production company Flower Films. In 2009, Barrymore made her jump to directing with Whip It, a film about the rough sport of roller derby and the even tougher women who participate. For her only directing job ever, this film earned her a lot of praise.
Ben Affleck, very much like his close friend Matt Damon, is a natural born movie star. Starting way back with Good Will Hunting and moving all the way to his Oscar winning film Argo, Affleck has proven himself time and time again to be a force in the industry. As an actor he has worked his way up the ladder of the entertainment industry and built a reputation behind him. All of the films he has directed have been overall positively received by critics and have made him a reliable director. We’ll see if he can handle the task of both starring in and directing the upcoming standalone Batman film.
Continue to page two to see what we picked as some of the worst switches from performer to director.