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10 Hollywood Movie Stars Who Can Act and Direct

Hey Hollywooders! This HollyGOOD Tuesday we’re taking a look at some of Hollywood’s biggest actors-turned-directors.

Let’s dive into 10 of the biggest actors who have also made a name for themselves behind the camera.

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Olivia Wilde 

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Olivia Wilde began her professional acting career at the young age of 20, landing her first big Hollywood role with the 2004 movie The Girl Next Door. Olivia went on to star in films such as Tron: Legacy (2010) and The Lazarus Effect (2015) and was a series regular on the Fox medical drama House.

Olivia Wilde made her directorial debut in 2011 with the short film Free Hugs. Since then she has directed the hit comedy Booksmart (2019), for which she won a Hollywood Critics Association Award for Best Female Director. Olivia Wilde also directed the upcoming film Don’t Worry Darling starring Florence Pugh and Harry Styles.

In a 2020 interview with Variety, Olivia Wilde said, “I never wanted to pigeonhole myself. I was just like, ‘I love everything. I’ll do anything.’ That was evidence that what I really love is the process. That was a clue that I was supposed to be directing.”

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Taika Waititi 

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Taika Waititi made his acting debut in the 1999 New Zealand film Scarfies, and went on to star in movies such as Green Lantern (2011) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Taika first began directing with the 2002 short film John and Pogo. The first feature film he directed was a romantic comedy titled Eagle vs Shark. 

Taika Waititi has since directed blockbuster films like Thor Ragnarok (2017) and Jojo Rabbit (2019), both of which he starred in. Jojo Rabbit won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay and was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture- Musical or Comedy.

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Taika Waititi also directed the upcoming new movie releases Thor: Love and Thunder and the sports film Next Goal Wins. 

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Denzel Washington 

Denzel Washington made his acting debut back in 1977 in a television film titled The Wilma Rudolph Story. His portrayal of Roger Porter in Carbon Copy (1981) marked his first role in a feature film.

Denzel Washington has since had a fruitful career, starring in movies such as Malcolm X (1992), Remember the Titans (2000), and most recently, The Little Things (2021). The first film Denzel Washington directed was Antwone Fisher (2002), a biographical drama about screenwriter and author Antwone Fisher.

Denzel Washington went on to direct other movies like Fences (2016), which is based on the 1985 play of the same name. Denzel even directed a 2016 episode of Grey’s Anatomy titled “The Sound of Silence.” The filmmaker is currently directing the upcoming drama A Journal for Jordan starring Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams.

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Danny DeVito 

Danny DeVito made his acting debut in the 1970 drama film Dreams of Glass. He has since starred in an extensive list of films including One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), Matilda (1996), and Hercules (1997).

Danny Devito first directed a short film in 1976 titled The Selling of Vince D’Angelo. The first feature film Danny directed was the 1987 comedy film Throw Momma from the Train. He then went on to direct Matilda (1997) and Duplex (2003). Most recently, he directed the 2016 short film Curmudgeons. 

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Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Sofia Coppola 

Sofia Coppola is the daughter of filmmakers Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola and has been in Hollywood since a very young age. Sofia first appeared in The Godfather as an infant. Her first big role was as Nancy in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986). She then went on to star in the independent film Inside Monkey Zetterland (1992) and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as a background actor.

Sofia Coppola first directed the short film Lick the Star in 1998. The first feature film Sofia directed was the 1999 drama film The Virgin Suicides. She then went on to direct Lost in Translation (2003) and The Bling Ring (2013). Sofia won an Academy Award and Golden for Best Original Screenplay and a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for her work on Lost in Translation.

Most recently, Sofia Coppola directed the 2020 film On the Rocks starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones.

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Michael Lembeck  

Michael Lembeck made his acting debut in 1968 in the Western film Hang ‘Em High. Michael has since starred in movies like The Comeback Kid (1980) and TV shows like One Day at a Time.

Michael Lembeck first directed two episodes of the CBS sitcom Doctor Doctor in 1989. He has since directed family favorite films like The Santa Clause 2 (2002), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006), and Tooth Fairy (2010). Michael directed the 2021 film Queen Bees starring Ellen Burstyn, James Caan, and Loretta Devine, which is in theaters now.

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Greta Gerwig 

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Greta Gerwig first acted in a 2006 independent film titled LOL. She then went on to star in No Strings Attached (2011) and 20th Century Women (2016).

Greta Gerwig made her directorial debut with the 2008 film Nights and Weekends. She has since directed and written fan-favorite movies Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019). These films star big Hollywood names like Timothée Chalamet, Saoirse Ronan, and Florence Pugh.

Lady Bird won a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Greta Gerwig won a National Society of Film Critics award for Best Director for her work on Little Women.

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Jackie Chan

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Iconic actor and martial artist Jackie Chan first starred in the Hong Kong film Big and Little Wong Tin Bar (1962) at the age of eight. Jackie has since gone on to star in films like Rush Hour (1998), The Karate Kid (2010), and The Foreigner (2017).

Jackie Chan made his debut as an action director in the 1973 Hong Kong film Police Woman and his debut as a director with the Hong Kong action-comedy The Fearless Hyena (1979). As an action director, Jackie Chan choreographs fight and combat scenes.

In 2016, Jackie Chan won an Academy Honorary Award for his achievements in the film industry.

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Angela Bassett

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Angela Bassett made her feature film acting debut in the 1986 thriller F/X. She has since starred in movies like Malcolm X (1992), Green Lantern (2011), and Black Panther (2018). In 2015, Angela made her directorial debut with the television film Whitney about Whitney Houston.

Angela Bassett has directed a number of television projects including the docuseries Breakthrough, an episode of American Horror Story: Roanoke, and an episode of American Horror Story: Cult.

Hollywood actors-turned-directors: Jodie Foster 

Jodie Foster made her feature film acting debut in the 1972 adventure movie Napolean and Samantha.  She then went on to star in big Hollywood movies such as Taxi Driver (1976), The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and Nim’s Island (2008).

Jodie Foster made her feature directorial debut with the 1991 film Little Man Tate. She has since directed episodes of House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and Black Mirror. 

Jodie Foster will be honored as the guest of honor at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. She will receive the Festival’s Honorary Palme d’or for her artistry and commitment to some of the major issues of our era.

Whether on or off-screen, these Hollywood stars are full of talent and have created movies we all know and love!

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