Immersed In Their Craft: 5 Celebrities Who Are Also Filmmakers

Stars like Bradley Cooper and Brie Larson have starred in acclaimed movie and television features—but they also happen to be filmmakers with their own visionary pieces.

It takes a lot of talent to become successful in the movie and television industry. Oftentimes, famous celebrities wear more than one hat, which is exactly why they become behemoths in their professional careers. For example, many actors and actresses do more than star in films and television shows. They’re also filmmakers who possess a deep love and understanding for their craft that extends beyond the confines of acting. 

A great deal of Hollywood performers produced, directed, and wrote a number of well-received films; here are five in particular who’ve made their mark on the industry:

READ ALSO: Star Painters: 5 Celebrities Who Are Also Visual Artists

Brie Larson

Many know Brie Larson as the face behind the superhero blockbuster Captain Marvel films, though she’s also gained a cult following for her memorable role as Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Over the years, Larson has continued to venture into films that explore women’s experiences, starring in 2015’s Room (which won her the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role) and the recent television series Lessons in Chemistry. 

Brie Larson/Photo by Lt Jessica Cicchetto via Wikimedia Commons

Yet beyond her stellar acting achievements, Larson has also fully immersed herself in the world of filmmaking. She co-wrote and co-directed short films (including “Weighting”), and also made her directorial debut in 2017 with the Netflix comedy-drama Unicorn Store (which she also starred in).

Larson’s movie tells the story of an aspiring painter who gets to fulfill her childhood dreams of adopting a unicorn, though the fantastical horse is mainly a vehicle to tell the story of a woman finding her place in the world. The film holds a positive score of 66 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, and nominations in the Toronto International Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival. 

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is perhaps one of the most prominent examples of a talented actor who turned into a filmmaker of equal caliber. He’s starred in films like Wedding Crashers, The Midnight Meat Train, The Mule, and War Dogs, among others. Yet he’s also been the mind behind critically-acclaimed movies. 

Bradley Cooper/Photo by Carlos González Santos via Wikimedia Commons

The 2018 film A Star Is Born was Cooper’s directorial debut, and something he’d been wanting to make for some time. He starred in the music-centric film alongside Lady Gaga, telling the story of an experienced musician who falls for a struggling singer and helps her make a name for herself. Cooper continued exploring human relationships and music with the Oscar-nominated Maestro, a dramatization of the life of composer Leonard Bernstain and his wife Felicia, as its leading man, co-writer for the screenplay, and director. 

Cooper’s films have won several accolades. A Star Is Born  took home the BAFTA for Best Original Score and earned a Satellite Award for Best Motion Picture. Meanwhile, Maestro earned Cooper a Gotham Independent Film Tribute Award, and two Satellite Awards (one for Best Screenplay and another for Best Cinematography under Matthew Libatique). 

Jordan Peele

One wouldn’t expect a person to be good at both comedy and horror—arguably two of the most difficult genres to master—but Jordan Peele has proven that he can certainly wield more than one talent. Though many now recognize him for his amazing horror movies, the filmmaker actually began as a comedy performer in various skits. He eventually starred in his very own comedy series with actor  Keegan-Michael Key, Key and Peele. From 2012 to 2015, the series gained a large fan following (with millions of views for every skit), as well as Peabody and Emmy awards.

Jordan Peele/Photo from the Monkeypaws Productions website

Peele wasn’t finished showing the world how much he had to offer, however, as he began venturing into the world of horror in all its forms through his film company Monkeypaw Productions. His directorial debut film Get Out—a chilling thriller on racism in America—won him an Academy Award for Best Writing, along with a slew of other accolades (the list is a long one). He continued this streak with 2019’s Us, another terrifying film about doppelgangers wreaking havoc, and the recent neo-Western horror film Nope

Greta Gerwig

Greta Gerwig’s acting career was more in the realm of independent films than blockbuster hits, but nevertheless, the award-winning filmmaker actually began her career as an actress in movies like Greenberg and The Meyerowitz Stories. She also starred as Nancy Tucker in Jackie, the 2016 docu-drama of Jacqueline Kennedy (played by Natalie Portman). 

Greta Gerwig/Photo via Instagram @barbiethemovie

Today, Gerwig is a name that rarely needs further introduction, as the writer-director has took the film industry by storm with hit after hit, namely Frances Ha (which she co-wrote with husband Noah Baumbach), Lady Bird, 2019’s Little Women adaptation, and of course, the cultural phenomenon that was the Barbie movie. 

Gerwig has garnered numerous accolades for her work, including National Society of Film Critics awards for Best Screenplay and Director for Lady Bird and several Oscar nominations for Little Women, Lady Bird, and Barbie

Elizabeth Banks

People know actress Elizabeth Banks for her roles in popular films like The Hunger Games trilogy, Catch Me If You Can, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and the musical drama Love & Mercy. However, Banks also holds directing credits for movies like Pitch Perfect 2 (which was her debut as a filmmaker) and the 2019 remake of Charlie’s Angels.

Her first directorial feature, Pitch Perfect 2, earned $69 million on its opening weekend, setting a record for Banks right from the start. She’s also produced a number of films including the recent queer comedy Bottoms and the horror-comedy Cocaine Bear (which captured the attention of many netizens with its disturbingly hilarious and campy premise). 

Banner photo by Carlos González Santos via Wikimedia Commons.

Shop for LIFESTYLE ASIA’S magazines through these platforms.
Download LIFESTYLE ASIA’s digital magazines from:
Subscribe via [email protected]