One of the most enjoyable elements of cinema is how diverse it truly is as an artform. The myriad of genres that are open for a director or writer to explore is utterly fascinating, if a bit daunting for many. For this reason the majority of directors prefer to stick with one genre for the majority of their careers given that it is usually easiest to find something that you’re good at and continue doing it.
This has yielded some amazing results over the years. Think of Wes Craven making a career out of evolving the horror genre, Guillermo del Toro exploring fantasy and Brad Bird progressing animated film to new heights before directing the latest Mission Impossible film. The fact that these directors stick very close to well worn subject matter should be a hindrance to their creativity, but instead film as a whole has greatly benefited.
However, not all directors are not satisfied by sticking to similar subject matter and some need to branch out in order to find creative and commercial fulfillment. Sometimes this means directing a movie that is virtually unrecognizable to what came before it, while also bearing the signature trademarks of that specific filmmaker. Some of the most interesting movies of all time have been made because of this and I’ll be exploring 8 of them here.
Read on to see 8 movies that were totally out of character for their director.
8. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – Peter Jackson
Previously known for: The Frighteners, Meet the Feebles and Dead Alive
Before Peter Jackson found critical success with The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring he was “that guy who made those low budget horror movies that grossed you out” and after Fellowship he became “that visionary who brought one of the greatest books ever written to the screen”. Could anyone have ever even possibly conceived that Jackson would be able to make a film that wins multiple Oscars before he started his epic trilogy?
It’s become common knowledge at this point since we’ve all had a decade to experience his stratospheric success with his Lord of the Rings trilogy and his King Kong remake. Before he ventured out into the Tolkien universe he was a low budget shock maestro in the same vein as Sam Raimi. Dead Alive is worlds apart from The Two Towers, yet Jackson’s direction on both of those films came across as assured and vivid.
The Peter Jackson of the 90s is virtually unrecognizable when compared to the Peter Jackson of the most recent decade.
This article was first posted on May 27, 2013