Actor Turned Director: Redefining a Career

Photo Credit: FilmDistrict & GK Films
April 9th, 2012

Actor Turned Director: Redefining a Career

--Acting is often seen as one of the most glamorous roles in a film. Actors and actresses seem to get all of the attention, while other roles are often forgotten. Still, some actors and actresses long for more creative freedom in their work. It's usually for this reason than many of them decide to step behind the camera and try directing. Some actors and actresses simply don't have the talent for directing. Yet, there have been several who have made the transition with ease and have found much success in directing.

Ron Howard started out as a child actor, starring in popular shows like 'The Andy Griffith Show' and 'Happy Days.' He began directing shortly after reaching adulthood and has directed many blockbuster films, including 'Splash' and 'Apollo 13.' Howard has found such success as a director, that many young audiences may not even be aware of his previous acting credits.

Angelina Jolie is a greatly successful actress-turned-director. Her career took off with leading roles in several popular films, including 'Tomb Raider' and 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith.' While still pursuing a lucrative career as an actress, Jolie directed her first film, entitled 'In the Land of Blood and Honey.' This ill-fated love story has received international acclaim.

Mel Gibson stole the show acting in blockbuster movies like 'Lethal Weapon.' When he made the transition to the role of director, he performed double duty as the director and lead actor in 'The Man Without a Face' and 'Braveheart.' Since then, he has continued to direct more critically-acclaimed films such as 'The Passion of the Christ.'

Lesser known as an actress, Sofia Coppola tried her hand at acting and landed several minor parts over the years. However, she has seen much more success since she has become a director. Daughter of famous director, Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia has made a name for herself by directing such popular films as 'Lost in Translation' and 'Marie Antoinette.'

George Clooney played the lead in a variety of different films, including 'Ocean's Eleven' and 'Batman and Robin.' After seeing success as an actor, Clooney directed the Oscar-nominated 'Good Night, and Good Luck.' He continues to act and direct, receiving awards and nominations in both roles consistently.

Penny Marshall became famous as a TV actress. She made the transition to the role of director while acting as one of the lead roles on the popular TV show, 'Laverne and Shirley.' After directing a few episodes of the show, Marshall went on to direct such award-winning films as 'Big' and 'A League of Their Own.'

Clint Eastwood rose to fame playing gun-slinging characters in Western films during the 1950's and 1960's. However, he has truly made his mark on the film industry as a director. Eastwood received particular acclaim as the director of 'Million Dollar Baby,' which won four Oscars.

Another successful actress-director is Drew Barrymore, who has had a varied film career that started at a young age and transitioned with her into adulthood. Starting out as a child actress in movies like 'E.T.,' Barrymore continues to act and can be seen in more grown-up films like 'Scream' and 'Charlie's Angels.' She made her directing debut with 'Whip It.' While this movie did not win any major awards, it was a hit with audiences everywhere.

Regardless of when they started directing, these actors and actresses have made many films that have been critically acclaimed and beloved by audiences. Some of these films have even paved the way for greater things in the film industry. For these people, acting proved to be the perfect transition into the world of directing.