Hollywood’s latest fad: From actors to directors

2015-01-05 06:55

Some actors and actresses get bored in front of the camera. Angelina Jolie said in a recent interview she wants to spend the rest of her career directing movies. Russell Crowe is celebrating his debut as a director and Seth Rogen has caused an international outcry with his second film as a director.

Canadian comedian Seth Rogen couldn’t have hoped for more publicity than his second directing effort, The Interview, received.

Known for roles in silly films such as Bad Neighbours, Superbad and Pineapple Express, Rogen switched to directing in 2013. His first film, which he directed with Evan Goldberg, was This Is the End, another nonsense comedy.

Their second collaboration created not only the film The Interview, but also an international incident.

The Interview is a dark comedy about the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The film’s studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment, was the target of a hacking attack on its computer systems, for which the FBI has blamed North Korea for apparently retaliating for the movie.

Amid threats of violence against cinemas showing the film, Sony Pictures Entertainment at first cancelled the movie’s release, but then let it play in independent cinemas and on the internet. In the latest move the US government instituted new sanctions against North Korea on Friday in response to the hack.

Rogen’s switch to looking through the lens is entirely in trend. Russell Crowe tried his hand at directing for the first time with the 2014 film The Water Diviner. Angelina Jolie most recently directed the newly released Unbroken. Jake Gyllenhaal is searching for material suitable for filming.

The Water Diviner recently celebrated its debut in Australia. Crowe, who won an Oscar for his role in the 2000 movie Gladiator, directs a film telling the story of a farmer who travels to Turkey in 1919 to look for his sons who went missing during World War I.

Jolie’s World War II movie Unbroken is her second after In the Land of Blood and Honey released in 2011. She recently told the magazine DuJour she never really liked standing before the camera. She’s happier behind the lens.

“Directing is very different from acting because it takes more than two years of your life, so it has to matter – really matter – in a different way.”

In her next film, By the Sea, she will both act and direct. She will co-star with her husband, Brad Pitt, and will give him guidance on directing.

Robert Downey Junior disclosed to the film portal Deadline.com in December that directing is in his sights, but he knows it’s an especially gruelling job.

Gyllenhaal, who is nominated for a Golden Globe for the movie Nightcrawler, is looking for compelling material, but it must be consequential before he would take on the project, the star said in October at a film conference in New York.

Other Hollywood notables have less inhibition. Rupert Friend plans his directing debut with Barton and Charlie and Checco and Bill early this year. Emily Blunt, who filmed Young Victoria with him in 2009, will play a key role.

Ryan Gosling, who starred in Drive, also has turned to directing. His fantasy thriller Lost River, with Christina Hendricks and Saoirse Ronan, is due to debut in 2015.

Dustin Hoffman, known for his roles in Rain Man and Tootsie, isn’t slowing down despite his 77 years. The two-time Oscar winner made his directing debut with the film Quartet, an emotional film about opera singers in a home for seniors released in 2012.

For many experienced actors, the switch to directing has paid off with awards.

Clint Eastwood won his four Oscars not for acting but as director and producer for Million Dollar Baby (2004) and Unforgiven (1992). Kevin Costner earned his Oscars in 1991 as director and producer of Dances with Wolves. Mel Gibson won a directing Oscar in 1996 for Braveheart. Ben Affleck snagged an Oscar in 2013 as producer for Argo.

Multitalented George Clooney remains without a directing Oscar, winning his trophy in 2006 as best supporting actor in Syriana. Despite his love for directing, Clooney remains true to his first career, acting in the Coen brothers’ latest film Hail, Caesar!

Jolie, on the other hand, was asked by DuJour magazine if she would give up acting altogether. Her unmistakable answer: “Absolutely.”

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