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It's no secret that Hollywood is full of talent. Hidden behind all the drama, the paparazzi chaos, and the tabloid headlines, we are able to find a world that produces an almost endless stream of high quality entertainment content for our viewing pleasure. The producers, actors and actresses, sound artists, costume designers, and the hundreds and thousands of other people who are working in front of the camera and behind the scenes are creating worlds for us we can't even begin to imagine. When movies are created with genuine heart, interest, and knowledge of how to sell a feeling, they are able to reach an audience in a profound way and cement a place in movie history forever. That's why it's so exciting to see some of our favorite stars taking their positions on set as well as behind the mic booms and screens as their own directors.
A number of our favorites have transitioned to the head title, with their acting experience in tow, going on to create a collection of really wonderful and iconic films. And though we wish more women fell under the category (Barbra Streisand stands alone for this specific gallery), we know that the trend of filling both jobs will only continue, hopefully giving women even more opportunities to follow suit. Many actors have already contributed to their own movies both on the screen and from the chair. Check out this list to see if your favorite made the list.
Before going on to star as everyone's favorite father on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Danny DeVito was not only acting in films but also directing and producing them. With his Matilda co-star and wife, Rhea Perlman, he created the production company Jersey Films and produced not only this Roald Dahl classic, but also Pulp Fiction and Get Shorty. This 1996 film is a favorite, one that in 2018 was turned into a meme challenge replicating its "Little Bitty Pretty One" scene. What can we say? Nothing transcends time like chocolate cake and Rusted Roots.
Although Ben Affleck made his feature film directorial debut in 2007 with Gone Baby Gone, he went on to take a lead role in his own movie five years later with historical thriller, Argo. The film, which documents a CIA rescue mission in Tehran that transpires under the guise of a sci-fi crew filming on location, was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won three, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and "Best Film Editing. Though it received a lot of criticism for some historical inaccuracies, the film features a star-studded ensemble including Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin, who won a Golden Globe for his supporting performance.
Certainly not his first or last film as a director/actor combo, Clint Eastwood brought tears to many viewers' eyes with his epically incredible and heartbreaking boxing film, Million Dollar Baby. The spaghetti Western star played opposite Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman as old and cranky (a popular role for him these days) boxing trainer, Frankie Dunn, who runs a gym in Los Angeles. The movie won Best Picture at the Academy Awards along with three other categories. Other movies of his that feature dual credits include Gran Torino and The Outlaw Josey Wales.
If you're looking for someone to thank for never being able to take "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" seriously again (that is, if you weren't already), look no further. Comedic actor Ben Stiller, star and iconic face of Zoolander, also directed the satire. The "Blue Steel" actor based the film on shorter projects he used for the VH1 Fashion Awards in 1996 and 1997. The 2001 movie received mixed reviews and was unsurprisingly banned in Malaysia for its "assassination of the prime minister" plot, but remains both a fan favorite and incredible quote source. Unfortunately, we cannot say the same for its 2016 sequel.
It's hard not to think of John Krasinski as lovable prank master Jim Halpert, but boy did he make sure to separate himself from any preconceived notions in his directorial and screenwriting debut, A Quiet Place. Acting alongside his wife, Emily Blunt, The Office actor stars as a father trying to keep his family alive in a post-apocalyptic future where making any noise can kill you. The movie was received incredibly well, garnering a number of awards and nominations as well as a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. A sequel for the film is expected to release in May 2020, and we're looking forward to seeing more through the actor/director/writer's fresh, exhilarating, and detailed perspective.
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It should come as no surprise that Seth McFarlane, who has been writing, animating, and voicing Family Guy since it first aired in 1999 makes our list and makes it for a movie about Mark Wahlberg's crude and possibly alcoholic teddy bear. Ted was the 12th highest grossing film of 2012 and received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Song, which, of course, he co-wrote. Did we mention he can sing too? The Peter Griffin creator is talented across the board, especially when it comes to vulgar comedy. This movie and its 2015 sequel aren't for everybody, but who can truly deny the hilarity of Marky Mark calling out close to 100 female names to his high stuffed animal in under a minute?
America's sweetheart, Tom Hanks, has been warming our souls for many, many years on screen and off. He took to the director's chair for his 1996 film That Thing You Do!, which he also wrote and starred in and ultimately receiving great reviews. His return as director/actor combo didn't happen again until 2011 when he starred, directed, and co-wrote Larry Crowne, a film about a Navy veteran who after being fired from his job decides to attend community college. Despite being co-written with My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos, the movie didn't receive great reviews. We're not worried about our guy though, he'll always be Academy Award-winning Forrest Gump in our eyes.
Controversial actor and director Mel Gibson is known for starring in a lot of popular movies, including The Patriot, Mad Max and the Lethal Weapon series, and he certainly made headlines directing The Passion of the Christ. But as for Braveheart, one of the classics in his repertoire, he took the credits for both actor and director. The film, which focuses on the Scottish war for independence from England, has made its mark as a war movie with an epic battle speech. The film received some criticism for inaccuracies and seeming prejudices (it's Mel, so, fair), but still went on to win the Best Picture Oscar at the 1996 Academy Awards (are we seeing a trend here?) and four others out of its 10 nominations.
There's nothing like a good mafia movie, and if anyone knows one, it's Robert De Niro. From Goodfellas to The Godfather, the Don has been able to explore the ins and outs of the life of an Italian-American man trying to make his way through a life of crime and family in numerous ways. And he took it a step further in 1993 with his directorial debut in A Bronx Tale, which he helped playwright (and future co-star) Chazz Palminteri adapt for the screen. The film received great reviews, especially directorial praise, and earned four stars from famed critic Roger Ebert. Though it won few huge awards, it's safe to say the movie has cemented itself amongst a very impressive list of gangster flicks for eternity.
It's hard not to associate Sylvester Stallone with his classic film Rocky, so it's not incredibly shocking to hear that he not only starred in the following four sequels, but also wrote and directed them. The original sequel, Rocky II, was released in 1979 and received mixed critiques, but soared in terms of box office revenue. Clearly, it did well enough to convince the boxing champ to tag in for more rounds as the acot continues to reprise the role in the Creed series, which he only takes an acting credit for. And who can really blame him for keeping the story going this long? Nothing helps you get up a set of stairs like a little inspiration from Balboa himself.
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Although you may know him as one incredibly suave and yet devastatingly terrible Gilderoy Lockhart, Kenneth Branagh has been both directing and starring in his own movies for years, many of them based on the works of William Shakespeare. His most recent foray, Murder on the Orient Express, is an adaptation of the classic 1934 Agatha Christie mystery novel starring her famed detective Hercule Poirot. The film features a loaded cast including Michelle Pfeiffer, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, and Johnny Depp. The film received mixed reviews, but was praised for doing its original author justice and honor. Surely this won't be the last we see from the director. Here's hoping for another magical appearance.
2004 film Garden State has been amassing a cult following for years thanks to the acting, writing, and directing done by Zach Braff. Based on his real-life experiences in the Garden State, the Scrubs star plays Andrew Largeman, a young man who returns to New Jersey after the death of his mother while also facing a number of other issues in his personal life. The eclectic film won a Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media, which the leading man put together himself. The film was a directorial debut and a success, delivering a different spin on typical movie tropes.
World heartthrob and former professional bachelor George Clooney took the film festival world by storm with his 2011 picture, The Ides of March. Featuring a star-studded cast including Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, and Paul Giamatti, the story follows the dramatic events of a politician's quest for the presidency as the Democratic primary approaches, which unsurprisingly faces a lot of obstacles on the way. The former ER star, along with his fellow writers Beau Willimon and Grant Heslov, were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay since the movie was based on Willimon's 2008 play Farragut North. Thanks to his many talents on and off the screen, the Ocean's Eleven frontman has been nominated for Academy Awards in six different categories, a record shared only with Walt Disney.
Barbra Streisand is iconic in everything she does, and that goes for directing, producing, co-writing, and starring in Yentl. Did we mention she sings, too? The 1983 musical follows the story of Yentl Mendel, who decides to live as a man in order to receive an education in Jewish religious law. This film has given us important content including the song "Papa, Can You Hear Me?" and the medical term "Yentl Syndrome," which identifies how heart attacks differ in men and women, often leading to misdiagnosis. Babs may be last on this list, but she is certainly not least, having directed and starred in a number of other movies while also maintaining a fierce musical career.
Bradley Cooper made headlines - and award buzz - with his redo of the 1937 classic A Star is Born, the fourth remake of its kind. With pop superstar Lady Gaga playing as his leading lady, The Hangover star made his directorial debut in late 2018 and captivated audiences everywhere with his powerful rendition. The film was nominated for five Golden Globes and eight Academy Awards, including "Best Picture." Their original song Shallow, also received nominations as well as radio play. The actor/director credits Clint Eastwood as well as his role in the play The Elephant Man for making him feel ready to both direct the film and to star as addict and musician, Jackson Maine.