A good actor/director relationship is like a good rhythm section – they compliment each other effortlessly and they’re never quite the same separated. Careers and reputations are built on collaboration. When people think of Martin Scorsese, they think of Robert De Niro and vice versa. Often, all the great directors have an actor they continually go to, and actors will also have a director who is a favourite who they work repeatedly with.
Some actors and directors are just made to work with each other. Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune worked together 16 times and they both valued their collaborations together more than any of their other work. Laura Dern may have only worked with David Lynch 3 times, but she acted for him unlike anyone else and she could never get close to her performances in his films elsewhere. Sometimes, there is just an indefinable synergy between two people that turns into magic.
When a film is in its early stages or an adaptation of a novel is on the horizon, you always play fantasy casting and dream of certain actors to play certain characters or work with certain directors. At the moment, Paul Thomas Anderson is about to start filming his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and there has been fan speculation for months over who is going to play who and many fans have spoken at length at what a dream it would be for a certain actor to collaborate with the dynamic director. This list is essentially 10 actor/director collaborations that would no doubt be great to see and have cinema fans talking for an age about.
This article was first posted on May 25, 2013