10 Actors Who Became Awesome Directors

These actors made impressive pivots into directing.

The Mule Clint Eastwood
Warner Bros.

Acting is one hell of a tough racket, with success generally a result of dumb luck and good timing as much as it is actual talent. And so, for most actors, succeeding as an on-screen performer is more than enough.

But some dare to grasp for more, trying their hand at stepping behind the camera and establishing themselves as a filmmaking force to be reckoned with.

Directing of course requires another skillset altogether, and though most actors certainly know a lot about how to build a scene, that doesn't mean every actor has what it takes to deliver a quality movie.

Take William Shatner, whose directorial debut was Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the worst of all the Trek movies to date.

Transitioning from acting to directing is tough no matter how you look at it, and only a handful of actors have successfully spread their creative wings to become truly great filmmakers.

But these 10 actors-turned-directors pulled it off against the odds, often ditching what audiences expected of them and proving themselves enormously versatile artists in the process...

10. Ben Affleck

The Mule Clint Eastwood
Warner Bros.

Given that Ben Affleck's acting career was steeped in mediocrity by the mid-2000s and many believed that Matt Damon did most of the hard work writing their Oscar-winning script for Good Will Hunting, there wasn't much reason to expect good things from Affleck entering the director's chair.

But the release of his 2007 debut Gone Baby Gone, a riveting thriller about the desperate search for a missing Boston child, proved just about everyone wrong.

Affleck went on to confirm it was anything but a fluke by following up with the expertly-crafted heist romp The Town, and then 2012's Best Picture-winning historical thriller Argo.

Though Affleck's fourth film, the awards-baiting gangster flick Live By Night, was a critical and commercial failure, it does little to change the fact that Affleck has made a more graceful transition from acting to directing than anyone could've ever anticipated.

Affleck's next directing gig will see him change gears significantly, helming a live-action adaptation of the hit fantasy novel series "Keeper of The Lost Cities."


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.