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20 Movies You Might Not Know Were Directed By Famous Actors

05 March 2014 | Features, Film Lists | by Michael Edwards

movies directed by famous actors

Some actors are well-publicized career switchers and use that to promote their directorial efforts. But more actors than you may know have taken the reigns behind that camera to mixed results. Here we find 20 films that were the directorial efforts of some surprising famous faces.


20. Gridlock’d


Directed by: Vondie Curtis-Hall

The movie: The overcoming drug addiction comedy/drama, featuring the very compatible acting duo of Tim Roth and the late Tu Pac, has become an under appreciated display of talents all around.

Where you’ve seen him: Vondie, a character actor that has shined in many small and memorable roles such as the “economically viable” man in “Falling Down”. Or doing Shakespeare in BazLuhrmann’s Romeo & Juliet as the “Captain Prince”, or military terrorist in “Die Hard 2”.


19. Sonny


Directed By: Nicholas Cage

The movie: James Franco returns home from the military and tries to avoid returning to his male prostitute ways.

Where you’ve seen him: Nic Cage…that Nic Cage…do I need to list off the credits? He swooped under the radar to direct his first film back in 2002.


18. Hoodlum


Directed by: Bill Duke

The movie: Tim Roth, Laurence Fishburne and Andy Garcia star in this early Nineties gangster drama set in the 1930’s. Telling the story of “lucky” Luciano and Bumpy Johnson’s power struggle over the streets of Harlem.

Where you’ve seen them: Mac in Predator…”I’m gunna have me some fun” , is the most memorable and iconic role for Mr. Duke, as well as my favorite as half of the crooked cop duo in “Payback” with Mel Gibson. And he was also the first actor to play Trask from X-Men in the Last Stand sequel…but I don’t expect anyone to remember that.


17. Animal Factory

Animal Factory

Directed by: Steve Buscemi

The movie: A very capable prison drama starring Edward Furlong as a young fresh inmate who gets taken under the wing of prison vet William Dafoe in a “Shawshank” like premise of friendship behind bars. Based on the novel by Edward Bunker (Mr. Blue from Reservoir Dogs)

Where you’ve seen him: You know he’s “kinda funny lookin”…but just to name a few; Fargo, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Armageddon, Con Air, The Big Lebowski…and a small heartbreaking cameo in The Messenger” with Woody Harrelson, Boardwalk Empire…ringing any bells?


16. Run Fatboy, Run

Run Fatboy, Run

Directed by: David Schwimmer

The movie: Simon Pegg ditches his pregnant fiancée on their wedding day. Years later he tries to win her back by winning a running marathon.

Where you’ve seen them: Ross from “Friends”. Need I mention more?


15. Everything is Illuminated


Directed by: Liev Schreiber

The movie: Elijah Wood journeys to the Ukraine in search of the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Based on the novel by Jonathan SafranFoer.

Where you’ve seen them: Liev has an extensive resume you probably know about by now; “Scream 2”, “Sphere”, “The Hurricane” just to name a few. But most recently people found hope in his casting as “Sabretooth” in “Origins: Wolverine”…only to be let down by…well…everything else about it.



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